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Brick factories in Hubei continue to use forced labour despite “crackdown”

Mentally handicapped people are being forced to work at brick factories in the central province of Hubei every day, morning to night, for just 208 yuan a year (less than the weekly minimum wage in Shenzhen), according to a news report broadcast this week on Shanghai-based Dragon TV. The local authorities in Hubei countered in a Wuhan Evening News report the same day (25 January) that they had already launched a campaign to “rectify illegal employment and crackdown on criminal behaviour."
29/01/2010

Once again local government picks up the wage tab for failed business

The news today that the Shenzhen government has started paying out the wages owed by failed courier service DDS should not come as a surprise to anyone. Ever since DDS abruptly closed down last week, owing thousands of workers millions of yuan in unpaid wages, employees and company clients across the Pearl River Delta have been on the streets, staging demonstrations and demanding redress.
28/01/2010

The Guardian: Flood warnings 'ignored' before Chinese mine disaster

Managers of a Chinese coal mine, where 153 workers are missing after flooding, ignored repeated warnings of water leaks, a government safety body said today. About 1,000 rescuers have been working round the clock to save those trapped at the Wangjialing mine in northern Shanxi province. There have been no signs of life since Sunday, when the disaster happened
08/04/2010

The Guardian: China claims big drop in mine deaths

China cut mining deaths by almost a fifth last year, according to state media, despite a spate of disasters towards the end of the year. The coal industry is one of the world's deadliest, but a government safety drive has closed thousands of mines and slashed the toll from 6,027 in 2004 to 2,631 in 2009 – still equivalent to more than seven a day.
21/01/2010

Coal mine accidents, deaths reportedly down by about 20 percent in 2009

China’s coal mine safety watchdog, the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety (SACMS), reported on 19 January that both the number of accidents and deaths in the country’s coal mines fell by around 20 percent last year. The number of deaths decreased from 3,215 in 2008 to 2,631 in 2009. And the number of accidents fell by 338 to 1,616, Xinhua quoted SACMS director Zhao Tiechui as saying.
20/01/2010

Rural migrant children at risk in city schools

Two recent incidents have highlighted, once again, the dangers faced by migrant children in urban schools. On 17 January, a toddler died in a fire at an unlicensed kindergarten in Beijing, and yesterday Xinhua reported that the headmaster of a private school for the children of migrant workers in Nanning, Guangxi, had been arrested for beating a student and breaking his arm.
20/01/2010

Government media supports workers after violent demonstration at Taiwan-funded enterprise

China’s official media has responded to Friday’s violent demonstration at a Taiwan-funded enterprise in Suzhou with calls for local governments and trade unions to better protect workers’ rights, and establish effective channels for dialogue between labour and management.
19/01/2010

Wall Street Journal: Levi's Faced Earlier Challenge in China

Google Inc.'s challenge to Beijing is not a first: Levi Strauss & Co. 17 years ago walked away from China. Today, Levi's brand jeans are produced in China, and in Beijing last November the company opened its 501st store in the country. What happened in between?
14/01/2010

China's "labour famine:" Hype and reality

If you ask a factory worker or a waitress in the Pearl River Delta if they have had a pay raise recently, they will either stare at you blankly or just burst out laughing. Photo. Zhongshan factory workers. TravelGeographer.
05/03/2010

SOE executives earn twenty times more than workers, one hundred times more than farmers

The average salary for senior executives at China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has risen to around 600,000 yuan a year, according to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. Executive salaries have nearly doubled over the last five years, and now stand at about 20 times the average SOE employee’s salary of 31,500 yuan a year.
11/01/2010
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