Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    3.
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    4.
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    5.
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Shenzhen’ Category

Chinese Policeman Appeals 14-Year Sentence over call for democracy; Lawyer Silenced by Court

Posted by Author on February 9, 2013


Sources told Human Rights in China (HRIC) that during the three-hour appeals hearing on February 7, 2013 that ended without a ruling, the Shenzhen Municipal Intermediate People’s Court repeatedly interrupted the lawyers for Shenzhen police officer Wang Dengchao (王登朝), who was sentenced to 14 years in prison on “embezzlement” and “obstructing official business.” Wang, 38, has maintained that these charges were trumped-up.

Wang’s wife, Li Yangting (李彥婷), who attended the hearing, said, “Wang said in court, ‘I did not embezzle even one cent. I demand an open and fair hearing of my case, so that everyone can see clearly whether I have committed crimes. I would accept even the death penalty if I could have an open and fair hearing.’” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Guangdong, Law, People, Police, Politics, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, World | Comments Off on Chinese Policeman Appeals 14-Year Sentence over call for democracy; Lawyer Silenced by Court

China Tests New Political Model in Shenzhen

Posted by Author on October 18, 2010


Wall Street Journal, Oct. 18, 2010 –

SHENZHEN, China— An experiment with political reform in Shenzhen, the city where China pioneered its economic opening, sheds light on an ideological debate playing out within the Communist Party as it holds an annual meeting in Beijing that will help to chart China’s political future.

In this former fishing village adjacent to Hong Kong, the party that has maintained an absolute monopoly on government since 1949 is taking small but significant steps to cede responsibility for social problems to independent civic organizations.

After more than six decades of stifling dissent—sometimes by force—the party is also using Shenzhen to test ways of strengthening public oversight of local government to root out corruption that the party itself admits has become the greatest threat to its grip on power.

It is a far cry from Western-style multiparty democracy, but this experiment—branded “small government, big society”—is seen by some leaders as a way to forge a new political model that maintains authoritarian rule while responding to the needs of an increasingly complex society……(more details from Wall Street Journal)

Posted in China, News, Politics, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, World | Comments Off on China Tests New Political Model in Shenzhen

Hong Kong Businesspeople’s Recent Published Magazine Confiscated by Authorities in South China

Posted by Author on September 22, 2010


Radio Free Asia, Sep. 21, 2010-

HONG KONG— Authorities in the southern Chinese boom town of Shenzhen have confiscated the entire first issue of a recently launched magazine which details the dangers of investing in the mainland, according to the publication’s disgruntled co-founder.

Xue Baoren, who has campaigned for the rights of investors in mainland China since a legal dispute with Shenzhen officials over a factory he leased, said the printing operations of Investments and Pitfalls magazine has been moved to his hometown of Hong Kong, where it will be distributed free of charge.

“I had the magazine printed [in May] at a factory in Shenzhen, and then I had planned to have it shipped to Hong Kong,” Xue said. “It was supposed to arrive on Aug. 27 but it was confiscated by the authorities in Shenzhen.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Asia, Business, Businessman, censorship, China, Guangdong, Hong kong, Human Rights, Investment, News, People, Politics, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, Speech, World | Comments Off on Hong Kong Businesspeople’s Recent Published Magazine Confiscated by Authorities in South China

Probe launched after 200 China pilots falsified records: govt

Posted by Author on September 6, 2010


By Robert Saiget (AFP) – Sep. 5,2010 –

BEIJING — China said Monday it was investigating its commercial pilots’ qualifications amid revelations more than 200 of them lied on their resumes.

The probe comes after 42 people died on August 24 when a Brazilian-made jet flown by Henan Airlines crashed at a small airport in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province.

Fifty-four passengers and crew survived the crash, in which the plane missed the runway, sparking speculation that pilot error was to blame.

The investigation into qualifications was launched by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the country’s aviation regulator, the central government’s news website said.

Between 2008 and 2009, the resumes of more than 200 Chinese commercial pilots were found to have been falsified, the report said, with some of them embellishing their flying histories.

At least half of the pilots worked for Shenzhen Airlines, which owns Henan Airlines…….(more details from AFP)

Posted in Central China, China, Henan, News, People, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, World | Comments Off on Probe launched after 200 China pilots falsified records: govt

Deadly Accident at South China Amusement Park Causes 6 Died and 10 Injured

Posted by Author on July 5, 2010


The Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2010 –

A deadly accident at a Chinese amusement park last week has spawned a mystery that officials are still trying to unravel.

The accident happened on Space Journey, a ride at Ecoventure Valley of Overseas Chinese Town in Shenzhen. The rise is designed to simulate the experience of a rocket launch, including acceleration twice that of gravity.

Normally, under a dome 24 meters in diameter built to suggest the vast expanse of the universe, Space Journey’s 40-some passengers spin and bob in four-person carts.

But last Tuesday, something went horribly wrong, leading to the deaths of six people on the ride and injuries to 10 others.

“This is the first time in my over three decades working in this field that I have ever encountered such a mass-casualty accident,” said Bi Jianbin, vice chairman of the China Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. It was a “huge shock” to experts, Bi said.

Neither officials nor the company that own the ride, Shenzhen Overseas Chinese Town Holding Co., have offered a clear explanation for what happened. The local government held a press conference at which the park apologized for the accident. A public relations official at the company says the incident is “under investigation, so we have nothing to say.”

In the absence of an explanation, Chinese media have quoted sometimes inconsistent eyewitness accounts. One witness said there was an explosion. Another smelled something burning.

Some unconfirmed reports say one of the ride’s carts broke off and fell to the ground, killing its passengers. Several reports cite a break in the ride’s power as the accident’s source. There is even a video circulating on the Internet that offers a hypothetical simulation of the disaster.

Bi says the accident couldn’t have been caused by a power outage. Even if the power went out, as occasionally happens on rides, it wouldn’t have caused the kind of damage that appears to have occurred on Space Journey.

The ride had only been open to the public for a little over a year, since May 1, 2009. Because the machinery for the ride was special equipment, it was tested and certified as safe by the China Special Equipment Inspection and Research Institute…….(more details from The Wall Street Journal)

Posted in China, Entertainment, Guangdong, Incident, Life, News, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, World | Comments Off on Deadly Accident at South China Amusement Park Causes 6 Died and 10 Injured

Leak of nuclear plant in southern China: Officials are criticized for cover up

Posted by Author on June 15, 2010


Radio Free Asia, 2010-06-15 –

HONG KONG— The Daya Bay nuclear power plant in southern China had a “very small leakage” from a fuel rod that has been contained, Hong Kong’s leading electricity supplier, CLP Holdings Ltd., said in a statement, but activists say the firm should have revealed the incident sooner.

A “small increase” in radioactive substances was detected in cooling water at the plant’s Unit 2 on May 23, CLP said in a statement. “The reactor cooling water is sealed in completely and isolated from the external environment, thus causing no impact to the public.”

Operations at the power plant were unaffected and a task force of nuclear experts had been formed to investigate the situation, CLP said.

Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station is located about 50 kms (30 miles) from the center of Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Security Bureau also said a fuel rod at the Guangdong Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station experienced a “very small leakage” that increased radioactivity levels slightly in the nuclear reactor’s cooling water on May 23, said in a statement.

The leak was “completely quarantined and, therefore, had no impact on the public,” the bureau said.
Chairman of Hong Kong’s Safety Advisory Committee Raymond Ho Chung Tai said in an interview Tuesday that the danger to the public is negligible.

“This is only a minor incident. If we report such a minor incident, it will only trigger public panic,” he said.

But party opposition members and experts were not as dismissive.

Cover up?

Albert Lai, vice chairman of Hong Kong’s Civic Party who has closely watched the development of the Daya Bay nuclear plant for more than a decade, urged the government and CLP to explain why the public was not informed about the incident until it was first reported by the media.

“[The members of the Hong Kong Safety Committee] should play a surveillance role and report to the Hong Kong government. If they are reporting their findings to the government, why didn’t the government report them to the public?” Lai questioned.

“This incident happened two weeks ago and obviously someone tried to cover it up.”

Members of the Hong Kong Democratic Party said they will pursue the matter with the government, while members of the pro-China Democratic People’s Party protested Tuesday in front of CLP headquarters on Hong Kong Island to express their anger over the cover-up.

Wan Sek Luen Laurie, managing director of Enviro-Chem Engineering Laboratory Co. Ltd, and member of the Daya Nuclear Power Station Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee, said CLP is misleading the public.

He said the statement the company issued that “the level of radioactivity has stabilized over the last two weeks since [the event], without material change” indicates that the fuel rod is still leaking.

“Neutrons cannot be totally sealed. It can go through walls and even the earth. It is the question of the degree of enrichment…Of course, some concrete walls can absorb radiation, but some of are leaking [to the surrounding air] already,” Wan Sek Luen Laurie said.

“It can be said that some of the workers in the plant have been exposed to different levels of radiation. The fuel, when it makes contact with air, becomes uranium hydride, which can detonate in room temperature. It is very dangerous.”

Kok Wai Cheah, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University said that though the fuel rod may only release a very small amount of radiation, the plant should follow international operating procedures by shutting down and replacing the rod.

“The crack [in the fuel rod] may be very small. But if the crack grows larger, the level of radiation will be higher. That means radiation within the reinforced concrete structure will also be higher. If anyone makes contact with it, their health will be in serious danger,” Kok Wai Cheah said.

Cheah warned that if the leaking radiation makes contact with the third external layer of concrete containment, it will endanger the lives of the public.

Citizens uninformed

Local citizens appear to be uninformed of the potential hazards to their health.

A resident in O-lang village near Daya Bay said people there knew very little about the leakage.

“We can sometimes find information online. Otherwise, we know nothing about the incident,” the resident said.

The International Atomic Developmental Authority said in an email that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has seen media accounts reporting the detection of radioactivity in the cooling water at Daya Bay nuclear power plant’s Unit 2 reactor.

But the IAEA said it had received no official notification of the incident, nor did it expect to if the incident was as minor as news reports suggested.

The Daya Bay plant opened in 1994 to wide criticism because of its proximity to Hong Kong’s city center. More than 1 million people signed a petition opposing the plant during its construction.

Radio Free Asia

Posted in Africa, China, Guangdong, Health, Hong kong, Life, News, Nuclear, Official, People, Politics, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, World | 1 Comment »

Foxconn Implements Second Pay Raise to Stop Suicides

Posted by Author on June 7, 2010


By: Brian Heater, PC Magazine, 06.07.2010 –

Twelve workers from Foxconn’s southern China plant have committed suicide this year. The plant manufactures the iPhone, among other products. Steve Jobs addressed the issue last week during a talk at the D8 conference in California, calling it “troubling,” but he added that the plant “is not a sweatshop.”

Last week, the company announced that it will raise pay rates 30 percent across the board, in light of the spate of suicides. This week, Foxconn announced it will issue a 66 percent performance-based raise for employees who get good marks on a three-month evaluation.

“This wage increase has been instituted to safeguard the dignity of workers, accelerate economic transformation, support Foxconn’s long-term objective of continued evolution from a manufacturing leader to a technology leader, and to rally and sustain the best of our workforce,” Foxconn’s founder Terry Gou said in a statement.

PC Magazine

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Dark side of China electronic surge: 3 lessons to learn

Posted by Author on June 1, 2010


Leo Lewis, The Australian, May 31, 2010 –

LIKE laws and sausages, consumer electronics have joined the list of things best not to see being made. Behind our shiny iPhone or cutely-packaged Nintendo games console is a process that reeks of exploitation, drudgery and, as we can now see, despair.

The spate of suicides at Foxconn’s plant in Shenzhen has provided an alarming education and raises a perfectly timed red flag over the US-China currency debate. China has been forced to acknowledge that the real story behind its growth figures is, in many cases, a degrading one.

There are three important practical lessons to be drawn from the deaths. The first is places like Foxconn must, sadly, exist if we want cheap electronics.

The punishing hours, the 350,000 employees squeezed into one vast complex, the pseudo-military discipline, the mind-numbing silence of the shop floor, these are all things that we can deplore, but which belong on the conscience of anyone who has ever made a call from a mobile phone, sent an e-mail or snapped a friend on a digital camera. Which is to say, all of us.

The glitzy myth of electronics has also been punctured: Foxconn exists because electronics manufacturing is no longer the work of artisan specialists. This company has done to technology what McDonald’s did to lunch.

The second lesson is that Foxconn represents the China that Beijing would prefer the country not to be. From the outside, the country looks export-led – one of the main reasons that China’s failure to allow its currency to rise against the dollar has drawn so much condemnation in Washington. The reality is rather different, and Foxconn usefully demonstrates why.

Take the 30-gigabyte iPod, one of the many Apple devices that depend on Foxconn. When it first went on sale in the US, it sold in the stores for $US299. It left the factory in China with a value of $150, but only $7.50 of that value was actually created in China. The remainder belonged to the other Asian countries (Japan, Taiwan) where the components were made.

According to analysis by CLSA Securities, globally, workers received $1.06 billion in earnings from iPod-related jobs, or about $25 per iPod sold. Chinese workers received only about 2 per cent of the global pay cheque, or 55c per unit sold. As it looks to its future, China desperately wants to be Apple, not Foxconn.

But the third and most critical lesson of Foxconn is that significant parts of the US rhetoric on China’s currency policy are misguided. The Obama administration is under relentless domestic pressure to “do something” about the undervalued Chinese currency, the yuan, and to prod China into letting it rise. Attention has turned to the timing of Washington’s decision to officially label China a “currency manipulator”, a meaningless slur given that 50 countries around the world peg their currencies to the US dollar.

Beijing, knowing that its economy is primarily driven by domestic investment, is probably keen for the yuan to appreciate but will not allow itself to appear bullied into doing so. But Foxconn kicks away one of the main struts of those angrily demanding that Beijing allow the yuan to rise: many of those manufacturing jobs that China is supposedly stealing from the US are not jobs that Americans could countenance doing themselves.

An attempt to run a plant like Foxconn in the US would be disastrous and that is why the jobs were outsourced there in the first place. Even if the yuan rose by 40 per cent against the dollar, it is hard to imagine mass-market electronics assembly jobs moving back to the US.

The currency scuffle between Washington and Beijing is in a lull, but could flare-up again at any moment: When it does, America must look at Foxconn for a sense of how the trade world really works.

Via The Australian

Posted in Business, China, Company, Economy, Guangdong, Life, News, products, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, Technology, Trade, USA, World | 1 Comment »

Foxconn China Factory Death: Suicide or Foul Play?

Posted by Author on June 1, 2010


By Luo Ya and Sonya Bryskine, Epoch Times Staff, May 31, 2010 –

(Excerpt)

Further Questions

The suicides have stirred controversy and speculation over issues that go beyond work conditions.

In a recent article published in New Epoch Weekly, Taiwanese attorney Winifred Tung pointed out that in the case of the ninth suicide, the woman who allegedly jumped from a building had been stabbed four times, and a knife was found at the scene.

Tung questioned if this alleged suicide was actually “suicide” and if the other cases might have involved foul play.

Reports by Chinese media also revealed that Foxconn admitted to making workers do 80 hours extra of overtime per month, while the local labor laws only permits 36 hours.

However, following the claims Foxconn sued Wang You and Weng Bao of China Business News, the journalists responsible for revealing these practices, for $3.8 million and filed a successful court ruling to have the journalists’ assets frozen.

International pressure from Reporters Without Borders and inquiries from Apple Inc. itself later pushed Foxconn to reduce the demand to a symbolic 1 yuan ($US 0.12) and withdraw the request to freeze the journalists’ assets.

The Epochtimes

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Inside China’s suicide factory Foxconn- “They are never able to relax their minds”

Posted by Author on May 28, 2010


By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai, telegraph.co.uk, May 27, 2010 –

While Apple
has risen to become the world’s largest technology firm, Foxconn, the maker of almost all of its devices, appears to have broken under the pressure of keeping up with new orders.

Two more workers attempted to commit suicide on Thursday by jumping from the top of dormitory buildings at its giant Longhua factory, according to sources at the site. Both survived and are currently hospitalised.

On Wednesday night, just hours after the chairman of Foxconn assured hundreds of reporters that the plant was under control, a 23-year-old man killed himself.

So far, at least 16 people have jumped from high buildings at the factory so far this year, with 12 deaths. A further 20 people were stopped by the company before they could attempt to kill themselves.

The hysteria at Longhua, where between 300,000 and 400,000 employees eat, work and sleep, has grown to such a pitch that workers have twisted Foxconn’s Chinese name so that it now sounds like: “Run to your Death”.

Terry Gou, the 59-year-old billionaire who founded the company, yesterday turned his plane around on the way to Taiwan to return to the plant. In a meeting with his senior management, Mr Gou allegedly said that he would not now leave the factory until the suicides stop.

In addition, the company is said to be considering a radical plan to move 60,000 people, or 20pc of its workforce at Longhua, to other sites in western China to be “closer to their homes” in the hope that this will calm the situation.

Inside the facility, workers were busily stringing nets between dormitory buildings to try to catch any further jumpers. “It is a clumsy solution, but it may save lives,” said Mr Gou. The company, which also makes dozens of electronic goods for the likes of Dell, Sony and HP, is also now blocking windows and locking doors to roofs and balconies.

An undercover team of seven Chinese investigators infiltrated the Longhua plant one week ago and told The Daily Telegraph that the trigger for the mass suicides is “inside the factory” rather than any personal or social impetus.

“The facilities at Foxconn are fine, but the management is poor,” revealed Zhu Guangbing, who organised the investigation. “Hundreds of people work in the workshops but they are not allowed to talk to each other. If you talk, you get a black mark in your record and you get shouted at by your manager. You can also be fined.”

He said Foxconn had lost tens of thousands of workers during the financial crisis and had been stretched to the breaking point by the volume of new orders, as products such as the iPad enjoyed monumental success.

“The machines keep moving and the staff have to keep up. The workers need practice to become really efficient, and with a heavy churn of new staff, they cannot adapt. In the past three months, the factory has been losing 50,000 staff a month because workers are burning out,” he said. “Even the engineers and the training staff have had to man the production line,” he added.

“Because Foxconn has had a large number of big orders, the workers are reduced to repeating exactly the same hand movement for months on end.

The workers we have spoken to say that their hands continue to twitch at night, or that when they are walking down the street they cannot help but mimic the motion. They are never able to relax their minds,” he said.

Overtime last year was an average of 120 hours per month per worker, bring their weekly hours up to 70 hours, above the maximum level set by Apple in its guidelines to suppliers. In the wake of the suicides, the company has now reduced the time to 80 hours per month, and is now considering raising its basic wage of 900 yuan (£90) a month by between 50pc and 100pc.

Longhua lies 30 minutes from the southern city of Shenzhen and is ringed with heavy security. Its sheer size is intimidating. “I once went to the west gate rather than the south gate,” said one contractor. “I had to drive around to the right entrance and it took half-an-hour”.

Inside, workers get free meals and accommodation in giant tower blocks. There is a complimentary bus and free laundry. Touch-screen computers around the campus allow each worker to check his current status – how much he has earned that month and how many hours he has worked.

There are free swimming pools, and tennis courts and 500 LED screens beam out exercise programmes across the site, as well as bulletins from Foxconn TV. Clubs organised by the company offer chess, calligraphy, mountain climbing or fishing.

Foxconn says that 8,000 people a day apply for jobs at its factory, drawn by the company’s blue-chip reputation, its prompt payment of wages and benefits and its training programme.

However, workers complained that they simply did not have the time to enjoy the facilities on offer. “The workers we spoke to said they never used the swimming pools, and anyway there are only two among the 300,000 workers, and they are said to be quite dirty,” said Mr Zhu.

Lin Fengxiang, a 23-year-old villager from Maoming, Guangdong, said: “I know why all those people jumped. In here, nobody gives a damn about you. Too bad I’ve already got one foot on this boat. It’s hard to get off now.”

telegraph.co.uk

Posted in Business, China, Company, Guangdong, Law, News, People, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, Worker, World | 2 Comments »

China Hi-tech Manufactory’s Lost iPhone Tragedy

Posted by Author on July 23, 2009


Vivian Wai-yin Kwok, The Forbes, 07.22.09 –

HONG KONG — The design of the latest, yet unreleased, fourth-generation iPhone is top secret at Apple–one so “priceless” that it claimed the life of a young Chinese engineering graduate who was held responsible for misplacing a prototype.

Sun Danyong, a 25-year-old employee of Foxconn ( FXCNY – news – people ), which manufactures the iPhone for Apple ( AAPL – news – people ), jumped from the twelfth floor of his residential building in Shenzhen at 3:30 a.m. on July 16. Ninety minutes earlier, he sent a text message to a friend, saying his apartment had been searched and that he had been beaten up by senior officials of his company, according to Chinese newspaper Nanfang Daily. The story ran Tuesday alongside a picture of Sun’s last text message, shown on the friend’s phone.

Sun also had an online chat with his former university classmate Gao Ge about three hours before his death. Sun told Gao he was suspected by his company of stealing the latest iPhone prototype. During Foxconn’s internal investigation over the missing iPhone, Sun was illegally detained and physically abused by a security manager surnamed Yuan, and Sun’s apartment raided by three Foxconn employees. Sun described the scrutiny as the most humiliating experience of his life.

Sun’s last online chat was posted on Tianya, a well-known Chinese blog, two days after his death. It roused strong criticism of Foxconn among Chinese Netizens and on the Twittersphere.

According to the blog, Sun worked in Foxconn’s Shenzhen production site, the company’s largest, which employs more than 270,000 workers. Sun’s job involved handling product communications with Foxconn’s clients. On July 9, Sun picked up 16 prototypes of Apple’s fourth-generation iPhone from the assembly line and was responsible for shipping them to Apple. In the next few days, he discovered one of the phones was missing but couldn’t find it at the factory, where he thought he had left it. On July 13, he reported the situation to his supervisor.

Meanwhile, as Apple received one iPhone sample fewer than it requested, the U.S. computer giant suspected its highly confidential latest model, which has yet to launch, was leaked out by Foxconn. Apple applied immense pressure on the Chinese manufacturer, and Foxconn’s security manager allegedly instigated unlawful methods in interrogating Sun two days later.

The Forbes

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Unemployment forces China migrants back to the countryside

Posted by Author on May 17, 2009


Tania Branigan in Miaoquan, Jiangxi , China, The Guardian (UK), Sunday 17 May 2009-

Until a week ago, Liu Xiao was part of the Pearl river delta’s army: one of the thousands of workers streaming along a Shenzhen road, gulping down breakfast, texting, lighting a final cigarette, teasing friends and swapping gossip – rushing rushing rushing to the factory for another shift making bras, computers and plastic toys for the world.

Today she waits patiently at the railway station across town. This region was the motor of China’s economic boom, but plummeting exports have forced it to slow and millions of those who kept it running have given up and gone home. Liu Xiao is one of the latest to return to the countryside: in her case to a village of just 200 people a 10-hour ride – and a world away – from Shenzhen.

For a year and a half she worked 11-hour days checking hard drive casings with no music or chat permitted, but found satisfaction in spotting hairline cracks and other errors. Home was a dormitory shared with seven other girls, crowded but renao (lively and chaotic).

“There were lots of rules, like no cooking and not being loud, but you get used to it,” she says. “It was harmonious, not like other dormitories where everyone quarrels.”

Production began to slow late last year and workers drifted away. Without overtime Liu Xiao’s wages slipped from 2,500 yuan (£240) a month to 800 yuan, barely covering living costs, and leaving nothing for visits to internet cafes or for the shopping trips she had learned to enjoy.

Millions abandoned the city at Chinese new year in late January and a steady trickle continues. When rumours spread that Liu Xiao’s factory would soon go bankrupt, as thousands across the manufacturing region have done, she handed in her notice.

Now she is killing time with a colleague, waiting for the night train. “I’m not too happy,” she says. “There aren’t many factories near my village. It’s too boring; there’s not much entertainment and it’s difficult to get out.”…… (More Details from The Guardian)

Posted in Business, China, Company, Economy, Guangdong, Life, News, People, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on Unemployment forces China migrants back to the countryside

Thousands attack police in southern China: state media

Posted by Author on November 8, 2008


AFP, Nov. 7, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — Thousands of people attacked Chinese police in the southern city of Shenzhen from Friday afternoon to early Saturday morning, state media reported.

Xinhua news agency reported the unrest in an “urgent” report, quoting Shenzhen city’s government saying a police car was burnt when thousands of people protested the death of a 31-year-old motorcyclist on Friday.

The report said the motorcyclist died after driving through a police checkpoint set up as part of a crackdown on illegal motor vehicles in the city’s Bao’an district.

A police officer threw his “interphone” at the passing motorcyclist, the report said, “who reeled down to an electric pole, got injured, and died with futile rescue efforts.”

A subsequent Xinhua report, quoting the city’s police authority, said no police were at the checkpoint and it had been set up by a subdistrict office of Bao’an district.

However, a police patrol was nearby and relatives of the dead man attacked it, blaming the police, the later report said, as 400 people gathered while another 2,000 looked on.

The police car was burnt as the crowd became angry, while some of the onlookers threw stones, Xinhua said.

The later report made no mention of injuries and said the crowd had dispersed by 2:00 am Saturday (1800 GMT Friday).

An official with the subdistrict office had been detained by police, the report added.

Shenzhen is a booming coastal city just over the border from Hong Kong.

It has a population of about eight million people, according to its official website, which made no mention of the violence.

China sees thousands of such disturbances each year as marginalised segments of society rise up against what they see as the heavy-handed practices of local governments, police or powerful businesses.

In June, tens of thousands of people rioted in southwest Guizhou province over claims police had covered up an alleged rape and murder of a teenage girl.

The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said that over 10,000 people took to the streets in that protest, with up to 150 people injured in clashes with police.

AFP

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China official sacked after web video triggers outrage over assault on 11-year-old girl

Posted by Author on November 4, 2008


Jane Macartney in Beijing, Times Online, UK, November 5, 2008-

Internet outrage has forced the dismissal of a senior Chinese Communist Party official after video footage from a restaurant security camera showed him shoving the father of an 11-year-old girl he had allegedly assaulted.

It was a moment that stirred fury among parents concerned for the child and touched a chord among the tens of millions of Chinese angered at abuse of power that has become increasingly blatant as prosperity has offered more opportunities for officials to profit from their positions.

Armies of netizens have taken part in numerous online manhunts in China in the past couple of years, but this appears to be the first time that a search by “human flesh engines” has resulted in the sacking of a senior government official and even a police investigation.

The incident began last week when a male diner at a seafood restaurant in the southern city of Shenzhen asked a young girl walking past his table to direct him to the lavatories. Closed-circuit television footage shows a pot-bellied man in a white shirt following a little girl with a ponytail across the room. A couple of minutes later the girl is seen running back alone.

Reports on the internet say the child told her parents that the man grabbed her by the neck and tried to force her into the toilets. She ran for help. The video shows her reappearing with her parents to look for the man. He returns to the dining room and into the frame, where he is seen shoving away the girl’s father when challenged to explain his behaviour.

Even state media said that the man then shouted: “Yes, I did it. So what? How much to you want? Just tell me. I’ll give you the money.”

The two men argue and the older man points and tries to push away the father. He shouts: “Do you know who I am? I am from the Ministry of Transportation in Beijing. I have the same seniority as the mayor of your city. So what if I grabbed the neck of a small child? You people count for fart! If you dare challenge me, just wait and see how I will deal with you.” When the father calls the police, the man leaves with his female companion.

Chinese websites reported that the police said the man had drunk too much, did not remember anything and, with no witnesses to the girl being assaulted, there was no evidence that he had behaved indecently.

An online furore soon led to his being tracked down and identified as Lin Jiaxiang, party secretary of the Shenzhen Maritime Bureau. Photos of Mr Lin, 58, receiving various government awards, including a commendation on behalf of his “Civilised Work Unit”, were soon plastered across the internet.

He was dismissed on Monday. The Ministry of Transport party committee said that his “wild words and behaviour have had an extremely negative impact on society”.

Online commentators were enraged about the incident. One wrote on the website sina.com: “It looks like organised crime and the Government should swap places. In this case organised crime seems more righteous than the Government.”

The Times Online

Posted in Children, China, corruption, Guangdong, Internet, Law, Life, News, Official, Online forum, People, Politics, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, Video, World | Comments Off on China official sacked after web video triggers outrage over assault on 11-year-old girl

(photos) China Review: 16th Anniversary of Falun Gong’s Introduction to Public

Posted by Author on May 14, 2008


The Epoch Times, May 13, 2008-

Harbin City in Heilongjiang

On May 13, 1992 Falun Gong founder Mr. Li Hongzhi introduced the practice of Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, to the general public in mainland China. According to official statistics, in a few short years it grew dramatically in popularity until there were at least 70 million Chinese practitioners.

(photo: people practice Falun Gong in Harbin City, Heilongjiang province, northeast China )

In the wake of the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Falun Gong (video: Why is Falun Gong persecuted in China), which started on July 20, 1999, the scenes of Falun Gong group practice in mainland China have become events worth recalling. Let us take a look at these historic photographs of Falun Gong group practice in China in celebration of this year’s World Falun Dafa Day.

Beijing Falun Gong practitioners participated in group practice. These photos attest to the popularity of the practice before the persecution.
Above: people practice Falun Gong in Beijing, Capital city of China

Shenyang City in Liaoning Province
Above: people practice Falun Gong in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, northeast China

Weihai City in Shandong Province
Above: people practice Falun Gong in Weihai City, Shandong Province, east China

Shanghai
Above: people practice Falun Gong in Shanghai City, east China

Shenzhen City in Guangdong
Above: people practice Falun Gong in Shenzhen City, Guangdong province, south China
More photos from the Epochtimes

Posted in Beijing, China, City resident, East China, Falun Gong, Guangdong, Harbin, Heilongjiang, history, Life, NE China, News, People, Photo, Religion, Religious, SE China, Shandong, shanghai, Shenzhen, Social, Spiritual, World | Comments Off on (photos) China Review: 16th Anniversary of Falun Gong’s Introduction to Public

China: End Child Labor in State Schools

Posted by Author on December 5, 2007


‘Work and Study’ Programs Put Hundreds of Thousands of Children at Risk

Human Rights Watch, December 3, 2007-

(New York, December 3, 2007) – The Chinese government should abolish the use of income-generating child labor schemes in middle and junior high schools because of their chronic abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. Many programs interfere with children’s education, lack basic health and safety guarantees, and involve long hours and dangerous work.

“China claims that it is fighting child labor, and repeatedly cites its legal prohibition against the practice as proof,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “But the government actively violates its own prohibitions by running large programs through the school system that use child labor, lack sufficient health and safety guarantees, and exploit loopholes in domestic labor laws.”

Under “Work and Study” programs regulated by the Ministry of Education, schools in impoverished areas are encouraged to set up income-generating activities to make up for budgetary shortfalls. According to official statistical material from the Ministry of Education seen by Human Rights Watch, more than 400,000 middle and junior high schools, which are for children ages 12 to 16, nationwide are running agricultural and manufacturing schemes. In 2004, proceeds from Work and Study programs generated over 10 billion yuan (US$1.25 billion), the statistics show.

Chinese law prohibits the use of child of labor under age 16 but stipulates that children may be employed under special circumstances, such as in sports or in the arts, or if their “occupational training” and “educational labor” does not adversely affect their personal health and safety. Regulations that govern Work and Study programs in middle and junior high schools prohibit hazardous work and stress that “education must come first,” but fail to provide a clear definition of the acceptable kind, intensity, and overall time duration of this special category of work.

The majority of schools limit these schemes to seasonal agricultural work (such as growing and harvesting crops), improving school facilities, or producing small handicrafts over summer breaks, either independently or through contract with outside employers.

But overly vague Work and Study regulations and poor supervision have led to widespread abuse of the system by schools and employers alike. Children as young as 12 have been employed in heavy agricultural and hazardous construction work. Others have been dispatched to local factories for weeks or months of “summer employment.” Some schools have turned into full-fledged workshops to produce local handiwork or foodstuff while relegating teaching to a few hours a week.

In recent years, numerous cases of children working in abusive conditions under the guise of Work and Study programs have been documented, with problems ranging from long working hours, dangerous working conditions, low salaries, and a range of health and safety hazards.

In July 2007, more than 100 middle and junior high school children were found in a factory making cardboard boxes in Panyu district, near Guangzhou. They worked eight-hour days in different shifts, the first starting at 8 a.m. and the last finishing at 11 p.m. The children were housed in the factory’s dormitory and paid 2.4 yuan per hour (US$0.30).

In June 2007, 500 children from a middle school in the western province of Sichuan were discovered working 14-hour shifts in a factory in Dongguan, Guangdong Province. Their school had contracted them to the company for summer employment. The children complained of poor living conditions, including crowded dormitories and insufficient food, and an array of work-induced health problems. Children were fined for production mistakes.

And in August 2006, local media reported that local school authorities in Maoming Municipality, Guangdong province, had arranged for 200 schoolchildren from poor families to work over the summer in factories in the neighboring manufacturing centers of Dongguan and Shenzhen. The children were working 11-hour days, with no rest on the weekend. Many complained of health problems, such as flu-like syndromes, persistent headaches, and fevers. A 16-year-old girl reportedly died as a result of untreated encephalitis. She had been complaining of high fever for three days but was not allowed to rest.

Budgetary pressures at the local level may account for worsening practices, with local government often slashing education and health budgets when revenues decline. Chinese law mandates that the state provide all children with nine years of free and compulsory education, but in practice most schools, especially in poor areas, cannot function without collecting tuition fees. The Ministry of Education says the Work and Study system is designed to generate revenue that enables schools from poverty-stricken areas to operate, and to subsidize children from poor families who cannot afford school-related fees. Local education departments at the prefectural or district level routinely fix revenue targets that must be met by individual schools, even though doing so is banned by the central government. In recent years, increasing budgetary pressures on schools have contributed to their “out-contracting” of students to employers looking for a cheap and easily manipulated workforce.

Hard labor, low pay, and hazardous work conditions are more prevalent in poor and remote rural areas. Schools, often with the encouragement of local education authorities, have sent children from poor areas in Sichuan, Hunan, Anhui, Guangxi, Guizhou, and Shaanxi to factories in the coastal regions for “summer employment.”

In remote areas such as Yunnan, Gansu, and Xinjiang, local employers have hired children for heavy agricultural work during the harvests. In December 2006, the Chinese media reported “severe violations” of Work and Study regulations in Minqin county, near Wuwei municipality (Gansu Province), including hazardous work conditions, unsafe transportation, and long working hours. In one incident, a middle school pupil died after falling from the truck used by the school to bring the children to the work fields. In April 2006, primary schoolchildren from Luoshan, Henan Province, were dispatched to a local tea farm to pick tea. A local teacher explained that it was the only way for the school to meet operating costs.

“Inequalities in China’s education system are out of control,” Richardson said. “Children from poor areas not only face vastly inferior resources, now they must also engage in heavy work to finance the schools they attend. The responsibility for adequately funding compulsory education should not fall on the shoulders of the children themselves.”

The State Council, China’s cabinet, has acknowledged the existence of severe defects in the Work and Study system in primary and middle schools. In 2006, prompted by an accident in which 131 children were poisoned after ingesting oil made from castor-oil seeds their school was making under contract from a local company, the central government issued a set of detailed instructions urging greater compliance with educational, health, and safety standards in Work and Study programs. “Labor that exceeds the bodily strength of children, involves toxic or dangerous material, or harms the development of the child are strictly prohibited,” the instructions said.

Other unauthorized practices detailed by the document include: the imposition of revenue targets by education departments on schools, and by schools on individual classes and schoolchildren; fining children who fall short of work quotas; children working overlong hours; and companies’ manipulation of the Work and Study label to employ underage workers.

Yet these new instructions have so-far failed to remove the potential for abuse. In 2006, authorities in the northwestern province of Xinjiang banned the employment of elementary and middle school children to pick cotton because it is excessively physically demanding. However, children were then redirected to other types of work that press reports describe as only marginally less taxing, such as picking beetroots, tomatoes, and other vegetables in state-run farms, and collecting recycling material. In summer 2007, factories in Guangdong, Jiangxi, and Fujian provinces were found using child labor under bogus Work and Study schemes, prompting domestic experts to urge the government to close this loophole in the legal prohibition of child labor.

Human Rights Watch said that little information about Work and Study schemes was publicly available, making it difficult to precisely assess the extent of unsafe forms of child labor in the education system. Most statistical information published by the government aggregates data for middle and junior high schools with figures for high school vocational training and student employment schemes for university students, which all fall under the same qingong jianxue (Work and Study) appellation. The results of a nationwide survey about middle and junior high school Work and Study programs conducted by the Ministry of Education from October 2006 to February 2007 have not been made public.

State censorship of the media has also contributed to the problem. The Ministry of Labor continues to classify statistics and details about child labor cases as “state secrets.” In September 2006, reporters from CCTV, China’s national TV network, documented the employment of children as young as 8 to harvest corn for a local employer. Children were shown carrying heavy loads and working in fields for the entire day. The broadcast sparked public outcry, but, rather than encouraging public debate of the problem, the story was instead removed from the CCTV’s website.

Human Rights Watch said the government should immediately stop programs that put children at risk, release all the information and data about these programs in view of reforming the labor laws, and publicly announce how it will phase out the system.

China is a party to the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 182, which prohibit work that is hazardous or interferes with a child’s education.

“China’s own laws and international obligations recognize that children shouldn’t be working,” said Richardson. “But the government allows dangerous work by underage children if their schools organize it. This really raises doubts about China’s commitment to eliminating child labor.”

Original report from Human Rights Watch

Posted in Business, Child Labour, Children, China, Economy, employment, Guangdong, Guangzhou, Health, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, People, products, Report, SE China, Shenzhen, Sichuan, Student, SW China, World | 1 Comment »

China Launches Complete Surveillance System in Southern City

Posted by Author on August 16, 2007


Richard Spencer, Beijing Correspondent, Telegraph, UK, 16/08/2007-

China has launched an ambitious “Big Brother” surveillance programme using everything from closed circuit television systems that can recognise faces to identity card computer chips to monitor its population.

A high-tech security company has been awarded a contract for the first phase of a scheme to encode computer chips for the residence permits all Chinese citizens must carry, starting in the southern city of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong.

The government will use the chips to control the whereabouts of its hundreds of millions of migrant workers. But they will also store data on the number of their children under the one-child policy, education records and ultimately medical and credit histories.

The company is already setting up television systems throughout the city armed with “intelligent surveillance” software that can recognise faces.

Police hope eventually to combine the two systems to provide complete surveillance.

Shenzhen is being used as a testing ground for part of an all-encompassing security system known as the Golden Shield Project. This also includes computer and mobile phone monitoring through the so-called “Great Firewall” of internet censorship.

Shenzhen is the most developed city in China, having been turned from a village 30 years ago into a pioneer of the country’s “special economic development zones”.

It now has a population of more than 12 million – almost twice as many as Hong Kong, on whose border it lies and which it was set up to imitate.

Per head it is the richest city in China but it suffers from widespread crime and prostitution. Virtually all its population has migrated from elsewhere, a major social issue in China, where residence permits assigned at birth dictate where you can live.

The closed circuit television system and residence card chips will be provided by China Public Security Technology, run by Chinese entrepreneurs but registered in Florida.

More than 20,000 new cameras will be installed, according to the New York Times. They will be integrated with 180,000 already set up.

Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, was the first to test the new system when he passed through immigration at the Shenzhen port on his return from a visit to Hong Kong.

But the extent of Golden Shield has alarmed human rights groups, who say it extends control over all aspects of people’s lives to authorities subject to little or no accountability.

Some of the data the authorities intend to retain on the new identity cards includes the owner’s police record; employment history; landlord’s telephone number; educational record; medical insurance status and ethnicity.

While Britain is known around the world for its surveillance culture due to the soaring numbers of CCTV cameras, human rights activists said the scale and sophistication of the Shenzhen project dwarfed the UK.

“I don’t think they are remotely comparable, and even in Britain it is quite controversial,” said Dinah PoKempner of Human Rights Watch.

The US has announced that it is to expand the use of spy satellites for domestic surveillance, turning its “eyes in sky” inward to combat terrorism and eventually for law enforcement.

– Original report from telegraph.co.uk : China’s ‘Big Brother surveillance’ to dwarf UK

Posted in China, City resident, Guangdong, Law, Life, News, People, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, Technology, World | Comments Off on China Launches Complete Surveillance System in Southern City

China Bans Overseas Satellite Programs, pro-Communist Hong Kong TV Affected

Posted by Author on August 13, 2007


By Xin Fei, Epoch Times Staff, Aug 12, 2007-

The Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television issued an order last month to all local governments to ban “illegal” foreign satellite programs. According to mainland Chinese residents, even the pro-Communist Hong Kong based Phoenix Satellite TV is listed as “illegal,” and banned in many areas.

When The Epoch Times phoned the Beijing office of Phoenix Satellite TV inquiring about the matter, an employee said that the impact is small and limited to certain local areas.

However, the Southern China Morning Post in Hong Kong quoted the station’s management saying, “The Phoenix Satellite TV has become the major victim of this regulation. So far, it has lost at least 4 million customers in mainland.”

Phoenix Satellite TV is a company listed in Hong Kong stock market and the only overseas Chinese television media in the mainland TV market. Experts believe that the fact that even the pro-Communist Phoenix Satellite TV is targeted shows that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is losing its sense of security. It does not even trust its own people.

Tight Control over Phoenix Cable News

According to viewers Mr. Leung and Ms. Yang of Dongguan, Guangdong Province, they have not been able to receive the Phoenix News channels since August 1. The local cable company claimed they were acting on orders by the authorities.

A cable service provider in Guangzhou said that they received orders from upper authority requesting them not to supply major programs by Phoenix Satellite including news on current affairs, finance, and other news. However for the time being they can broadcast entertainment programs.

She also mentioned that there are many local cable service providers. Not all of them have been notified and not all of them followed the orders right away.

A cable service provider in Shenzhen said that they received the notice and the core meaning is “to prevent the infiltration of the enemy’s knowledge and culture.”

Not Trusting Their Own People

According to Zhao Dagong, a freelance writer from Shenzhen, it’s understandable that Phoenix is affected.

“Even though Phoenix Satellite TV is subordinate to the CCP, some of its programs are made to suit the taste and market of Hong Kong viewers. If all programs are made just like the China Central Television (CCTV), no one is going to watch the shows and no one would advertise in the program,” said Zhao.

Jin Zhong, editor of Hong Kong Open Magazine said that “Under normal circumstances, sometimes when Phoenix Satellite makes decisions without consulting the CCP, the government would open one eye and close one eye. However, with the upcoming Olympics and the 17th CPC (Communist Party of China) National Congress, the CCP is losing its sense of security. It does not even trust its own people. That’s why the Phoenix Satellite TV is also affected.”

Jin Zhong also said, “I think this is just temporary measure during the sensitive time. After all, the Phoenix Satellite TV is called ‘associate CCTV’ by people. Even though the CCP does not have complete faith in the Phoenix, they still need such media for their propaganda.”

Sticking to its Autocratic Nature will only Provoke More Conflict

Jin also said that the CCP is facing a very awkward situation. On one hand, they want to please the western world and prepare to host the upcoming Olympics. China has spent a lot of money and put in a lot of effort to build the image of a “civilized, open and free” country.

However, its autocratic nature has caused endless domestic conflicts. There are many so-called “unstable factors” and uncontrollable situations. Grievances are building up everywhere from Beijing to rural areas. It is very incompatible with the image they try to build. The international community is seeing more and more of the true China. Its human rights situation is also drawing more and more attention, Jin said.

“Based on this kind of contradiction, the current tight control of overseas media, even including their own Phoenix Satellite TV, would only reflect the autocratic nature of the country. It will never be willing to truly open up the country and grant its people freedom,” Jin said.

Zhao Dagong said that “The increasingly strict control in China is due to the forthcoming Olympics and strong concern for its human rights violations from the international community. The government will only even more severely suppress the media and control dissidents. However, the control will also expose more of the true ugly side of the regime and lead to more conflicts, more social issues, and more anti-government activities. Thus, it is expected that there will be more news exposing the news blockade and suppression of human rights by the regime.”

– Original report from the Epochtimes : China Bans Overseas Satellite Programs

Posted in Asia, censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Guangdong, Hong kong, Human Rights, Law, Life, Media, News, Politics, Satellite, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, TV / film, World | Comments Off on China Bans Overseas Satellite Programs, pro-Communist Hong Kong TV Affected

12-year-old Child Labour Exploited in China Olympics Goods Factories

Posted by Author on June 11, 2007


Press release, Trades Union Congress (TUC), 10 June 2007-

New research published today (Monday) shows that licensed goods bearing the logo of the 2008 Beijing Games have been made in factories where child labour and gross exploitation are rife.

As members of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) gather in London for a progress report on the 2012 Games, the report – ‘No Medal for the Olympics‘ finds evidence of children as young as 12 years old producing Olympic merchandise. Researchers also found adults earning 14p per hour (half the legal minimum wage in China) and employees who were made to work up to 15 hours per day, seven days a week.

The research undertaken inside China by the Playfair Alliance – represented in the UK by the TUC and Labour Behind the Label (LBL) – into working conditions in four factories making 2008 Olympic bags, headgear, stationery and other products also reveals that factory owners are falsifying employment records, and forcing workers to lie about their wages and conditions.

With 1872 days to go until the London Olympics, campaigners at a meeting in Parliament later today will call on the organisers of the 2012 Games to act now to make sure that their own licensed goods are not made with similar violations of workers’ rights. The Playfair Alliance has expressed concern that workers’ rights could be jeopardised by the pressure to keep the overall cost of the London Games down.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “Children and adult workers are being grossly exploited so that unscrupulous employers can make more profit. Their actions tarnish the Olympic ideal, and we don’t want more of the same when the Olympics come to London. The IOC must add respect for workers’ rights to the Olympic charter.’

Maggie Burns, Chair of Labour Behind the Label, said: “The London Olympics has just spent £400,000 on a logo. There is no reason why organisers cannot ensure a ‘sweat-free’ games, if they act now. Previous games have tried and failed to safeguard workers’ rights. If London is to raise the bar, it will need to be creative and ambitious, but it will also need to put enough resources in place.”

Guy Ryder, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, said:

“We warned the IOC at the time that failure to take the necessary action on labour standards would lead to situations such as those identified in the report, bringing lasting damage to the name and reputation of the Olympic movement. Unfortunately, our call has been ignored. This must not happen again.”

Researchers for the Playfair Alliance came across many examples of worker abuse in Chinese factories producing goods for the IOC and the Beijing Games including:

  • The Le Kit Stationery Co Ltd in Guangdong, which is producing stationery for the 2008 Olympics, was employing more than 20 children, the youngest just 12 years old. These youngsters had been hired during the school holidays and were working from around 7.30am until 10.30pm, doing the same jobs as adults. Forced overtime, harsh fines, the punishment of workers, and wages less than half the legal minimum were amongst the violations uncovered in the factory, which does not give its 400 employees any contract of employment.
  • The Yue Wong Cheong company’s operations in Shenzen is producing some 50 different items under licence for the 2008 Olympics. It regularly pays its workers less than 50% of the Chinese minimum wage, and requires them to work 13 hours per day with few, if any, days off a month. Many workers complained about poor health and safety, including fire hazards, skin problems from chemicals and respiratory problems from dust. Fake salary slips are used to dupe outside inspectors sent by the company’s clients to check wages and conditions.
  • Mainland Headwear Holdings Ltd employs some 3,000 workers at its Shenzen factory, paying them as little as 45% of the minimum wage and forcing them to work overtime far in excess of the legal limit. Workers who resign are “fined” one month’s wages by the company, while the whole workforce is given instructions on how to lie to outside inspectors about wages and conditions. Any worker who tells the truth faces instant dismissal, while those who follow the factory’s “answer guidelines” are given a financial reward.
  • Eagle Leather Products is a Hong Kong owned company based in Guangdong with a workforce of around 200. Most workers producing the company’s Olympics-branded bags are made to work 30 days per month, with forced overtime meaning that total working hours a month can be in excess of 300 hours. While workers say that wage levels are satisfactory, excessive fines, punishments and arbitrary rules make life extremely difficult.

The Playfair Alliance is calling on the IOC to:

  • Demand that countries hosting the Olympics make sure that goods produced under licence meet core labour standards, and where this is not the case, the IOC must act to put the situation right.
  • Ensure that respect for workers’ rights is a key part of the Olympic Charter and of the IOC Code of Ethics.
  • Commit resources to undertake investigations of working conditions and acts to end abusive and exploitative labour practices in IOC supply chains.

NOTES:
– The full report can be found at http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/playfair.pdf

Original report from TUC : Olympics merchandise made using child labour, says TUC

Posted in Asia, Beijing Olympics, Child Labour, Children, China, Company, Economy, employment, Guangdong, Human Rights, Law, Life, Made in China, News, People, products, Report, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, Sports, Worker, World | Comments Off on 12-year-old Child Labour Exploited in China Olympics Goods Factories

South China City Hit By Biggest Ever Toxic “Red Tide”

Posted by Author on June 8, 2007


Reuters, 07 Jun 2007-

BEIJING, June 7 (Reuters) – Coastal waters off China’s booming southern port of Shenzhen have been hit by the biggest ever marine algal bloom, state media reported on Thursday.

The report comes days after green algae in China’s third largest lake cut off water supplies to millions of residents in Wuxi, in eastern Jiangsu province.

Commonly known as “red tide”, toxic algal blooms can devastate marine plant and animal life and are exacerbated by coastal run-off from fertilisers and untreated human waste.

“This is the biggest red tide that has ever appeared off the city’s coast,” the China Daily quoted Zhou Kai, an expert with the local marine environment monitoring station, as saying.

Zhou said the 50-sq-km (19-sq-mile) slick off the west coast of Shenzhen, a major industrial centre bordering Hong Kong in Guangdong province, was the third outbreak this year and was likely to persist without rain.

“The weather remains sunny and hot, which means the red tide is here to stay for now,” Zhou said.

“We strongly urge the public to stay away from the polluted sea areas and not eat sea products from there,” he added.

Provincial and local governments have poured billions of yuan into cleaning up coastal waters off Guangdong, but discharges from human waste and heavy-polluting industries continue to take their toll.

The bloom would not cause major economic losses, Zhou said, but “the foul smell of the dying algae will be unpleasant for the people living in affected areas, and the tide’s annoying red colour will also mar the pleasant view”.

China has slowed, but not reversed, a rising tide of pollution from frenetic industrialisation, the national environment agency said on Tuesday in the face of increasing public anger over foul air and water.

original report from Reuters

Posted in China, Environment, Food, Guangdong, Health, Life, News, pollution, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, waste, water | Comments Off on South China City Hit By Biggest Ever Toxic “Red Tide”

Black Tuesday in China Darkens World Stock Markets

Posted by Author on February 27, 2007


R.M. Schneiderman, Forbes, 02.27.07-

Call it a day of global reckoning.

On Tuesday the largest decline in the Chinese stock market in more than a decade reverberated across international markets, (See “Black Tuesday In China“), as the major indexesin the U.S. and Europe plunged.

The Dow Jones industrial average slid 173.04 points, or 1.4%, to 12,459.22. The blue-chip stocks did slightly better than the broader Standard & Poor’s 500, which lost 1.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite — which contains many smaller and riskier shares — lost 2.2%. Earlier, European indexes were down about 2.8% following a nearly 9% drop in China.

Just a day after hitting a record of 3,040.60, the Shanghai Composite Index plummeted 8.8%, to close at 2,771.79, as investors feared the Chinese government would raise interest rates or implement a capital gains tax to cool the country’s economy.

“Rumors have been circulating in Hong Kong for a few days that Chinese Premier Wen will announced a new set of policies, such as raising interest rates to tighten China’s economy,” said Vincent Lam, director and fund manager of Quam Asset Management.

Investors also pulled back investment from the smaller Shenzen Composite Index, which fell 8.5%, to close at 709.81. Hong Kong felt the effects of the mainland pullback as well: the Hang Seng Index fell 1.8% to 20,147.87.

Despite the startling drop, Chinese officials did not issue any warnings or try and create market stability, something which stood in contrast to the government’s past policies during market slumps.

This year, analysts expect the Chinese economy to grow 9% to 10%. That level of expansion is necessary to bolster China’s rising standard of living and fast-paced industrialization. Yet if the country begins to grow beyond that pace, harmful inflation could creep into the picture.

China’s tumble wasn’t the only disconcerting news for investors. In Iran, the country’s foreign minister reportedly said his country would not bring its uranium enrichment program to a halt, reigniting concerns over a conflict with United States and other Western nations.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, three people reportedly died in a suicide bomb attack close to the U.S. military base where U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney was present. Cheney was uninjured.

In U.s. economic news, orders for big-ticket manufacturing items fell by 7.8% in January, far more than Wall Street was expecting. While a big portion of the decline pertained to an expected drop in commercial airplane orders, other manufacturing items also saw declines, hinting that the economy may be weaker than previously thought.

While not quite a wake-up call to the Federal Reserve, Ken Mayland of ClearView Economics said the report “underscores the fact that the fed funds futures markets has placed too low-odds on seeing one or more cuts in short-term interest rates in 2007.” While late last year many investors seemed to think the U.S. central bank would eventually reduce interest rates to foster economic growth, the pendulum has shifted — too far in Mayland’s view — to pervasive doubt that it would do any such thing.

Chinese shares trading in New York suffered as the day progressed. In midday trading, shares of China Unicom (nyse: CHU – news – people ) dropped 3.4%, or 45 cents, to $12.73, while shares of China Life Insurance (nyse: LFC – news – people ) lost 5.4%, or $2.29, to $39.91. China-based software provider CDC (nyse: CHINA – news – people ) shares fell 9%, or 93 cents, to $9.38.

Closed-end funds specializing in China-related stocks were pummeled. Shares of Morgan Stanley China Fund (nyse: CAF – news – people ) plunged 12.0%, or $3.57, to $27.26, while shares of Greater China Fund (nyse: GCH – news – people ) plummeted 10.4%, or $2.63, to $22.72.

Xerox (nyse: XRX – news – people ) also took a big hit, as shares fell 1.6%, or 28 cents, to $17.63, after the company cut its first-quarter profit forecast late Monday.

Elsewhere, shares of Sirius Satellite Radio (nasdaq: SIRI – news – people ) declined by roughly 2%, or 8 cents per share, to $3.66, after the company issued worse-than-expected subscriber guidance for 2007.

Posted in Asia, China, Economy, News, Politics, shanghai, Shenzhen, Social, World | 1 Comment »

Disney Sweats Over Sweatshop Charges in China

Posted by Author on February 16, 2007


Venkatesan Vembu, Daily News & Analysis, India, Friday, February 16, 2007-

Shenzhen supplier shuts shop following campaign against labour standards

HONG KONG: For the families of 800 workers at Huang Xing Light Manufacturing factory in Shenzhen in southern China, the Chinese New Year, which begins on February 18, will begin on quite a gloomy note.

That’s because only last fortnight, the factory, which used to supply Mickey Mouse and other Disney memorabilia to Tokyo Disneyland, downed shutters and laid off these 800 factory workers without any compensation.

On February 1, hundreds of dismissed workers staged violent protests outside the factory premises, demanding back-wages and compensation, but were dispersed by security officials.

The closure of Huang Xing came about after Disney, which accounted for over 80 per cent of the factory, pulled the plug on the relationship following damaging revelations by a Hong Kong-based labour activist group about working conditions at the factory.

In a report released in December 2006, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), a non-profit agency that works to advance workers’ rights and “monitor” corporate behaviour, revealed gross violations of Chinese labour laws and international codes of conduct relating to work safety and compensation at seven factories that manufactured Disney merchandise in southern China.

That report validated the findings of an earlier report in 2005 from SACOM that had alleged sweatshop-like working conditions in the factories. Occupational injuries were prevalent, the report alleged.

In one factory, an average of three instances of occupational injury were reported every week. In addition, workers were paid far less than the statutory minimum wage, were forced to work longer hours than required under law, and accommodated in unsanitary dormitories.

“Our findings were heartbreaking,” SACOM coordinator Jenny Chan told DNA on Wednesday. “We’d gone to study labour conditions in southern China,” which had by then become the ‘factory floor of the world’ and a pivotal link in the global supply chain of many multinationals. What the SACOM stumbled on was working-class hell.

Those reports helped initiate a consumer campaign of sorts in Hong Kong and elsewhere and focussed media and civil society attention on the poor labour standards in southern China.

SACOM also teamed up with pressure groups overseas – such as the Clean Clothes Campaign – to hold multinationals like Disney accountable on their home turf as well.

The damning reports stirred Disney enough to respond by pulling the plug on the relationship with the supplier — a policy that SACOM criticises as “cut and run”. Says Chan: “This is the worst response to workers’ rights violations. Disney must take responsibility for the labour rights violations carried out by its suppliers.”

Disney, on the other hand, disavows any responsibility for the closure. The company’s Asia regional corporate communications director Alannah Goss said in a statement that Disney had been working with both the licensee and the factory for many months and that “notwithstanding multiple offers by Disney to help the licensee and factory to improve standards, the licensee has chosen to walk away.”’

Chan acknowledges that SACOM’s well-intentioned efforts to protect workers’ rights have had the unintended effect of seeing the workers lose their jobs, and admits that the group has been under “huge pressure” in recent days.

“At one level, what has happened is very sad. But it’s important to bear in mind that Disney is the most important player in the relationship, and it was Disney that failed to correct rights violations in the factories or provide management solutions to the problem. If they had taken our suggestions seriously, this worst-case scenario wouldn’t have happened.”

Adds Chan: “Our objective hasn’t changed. We still want Disney and other corporates to bear their social responsibility and fulfil their obligations to ensure that workers are properly treated and labour laws are followed.”

More recently, SACOM has expanded the canvas of its operations to other labour-intensive manufacturing industries in China, including the electronics and computer assembly factories. The battle against “corporate misbehaviour” in China is evidently far from over…

original report from Daily News & Analysis

Posted in China, Company, Economy, employment, Guangdong, Hong kong, Incident, Law, Life, News, People, Protest, Report, Rural, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, sweatshop, Worker, World | Comments Off on Disney Sweats Over Sweatshop Charges in China

Shenzhen: Vivid Display of China Economy, Pollution and Social ills

Posted by Author on February 11, 2007


By Craig Simons, INTERNATIONAL STAFF of Statesman.com, Texas,  Sunday, February 11, 2007-

SHENZHEN, China — Nowhere else is China’s breathtaking economic growth on display as vividly as in this southern metropolis. It even has a name: “Shenzhen speed,” a remarkable rural-to-urban transformation.

Three decades ago, this area was mostly dirt roads and rice paddies. Farmers eked a living from the fertile crescent of land at the end of the Pearl River and gazed longingly across a barbed wire border at Hong Kong, then a British colony.

Today, Shenzhen is one of China’s largest cities, with a population pushing 18 million — almost twice the population of Los Angeles County — and a landscape of skyscrapers, luxury apartments and shopping malls.

Hundreds of square miles of fields have been drained and covered with factories that churn out a significant portion of the world’s products, from computers to clothing and toys. The city has averaged an annual economic growth of 28 percent since 1980, the fastest in China.

But Shenzhen speed also represents China’s dilemma. The fast profits have come with problems. On many days, the air is thick with smog. The number of cars has nearly doubled since 2003, and streets lock into snarls of exasperated motorists. Violent crime and the incidence of HIV/AIDS has surged.

Experts see the city as a test case for whether China will be able to solve problems ranging from massive pollution to growing labor disputes.

At a park in the city center, 55-year-old Peng Li remembered that when she moved to the city in 1987, “it was always clear.”

“But now . . . well, now you can see what’s happened,” she said, sweeping a hand across the polluted gray skyline.

Other residents complain that lack of social welfare has created a society where poorer citizens are left out.

Some 13 million migrant laborers work in Shenzhen’s factories and produce almost all of the city’s wealth, but they have almost no access to public services, including reduced-cost health care and schooling, said Liu Kaiming, director of Shenzhen’s Institute of Contemporary Observation.

“The system has created a huge group of people who are treated as second-class citizens,” he said.

In 1980, China’s leader, Deng Xiaoping, declared Shenzhen a special economic zone, one of four cities allowed to carry out communist China’s first capitalist changes.

Changes followed rapidly as companies began to pay for work done rather than for time worked and, for the first time, to link salaries with performance, both of which “vastly increased productivity,” said Yang Yaolin, director of the city’s history museum.

An indication of Shenzhen speed is on display at a museum. An exhibition preserves a typical home from the early 1980s that today is considered a relic. A poster of Mao Zedong hangs on a wall, a sewing machine sits beside a manual typewriter, and a hot plate rests on a counter next to a flimsy bed.

Looking at the room, 73-year-old Wu Yanda, a retired factory manager who now lives in a “European-style villa,” recalled that when he moved to Shenzhen in 1987, such lodgings were “quite luxurious.”

“Today, it’s ancient history,” he said. “Most people have a lot more.”

But not everyone is basking in the new prosperity.

The combination of low pay, grueling work and discrimination has led to increasing labor unrest.

Shenzhen accounted for 15 percent of China’s court-adjudicated labor disputes last year, and the number of migrant workers seeking jobs in the city has fallen in recent years as they chose to look elsewhere, Liu said.

The change has forced companies to raise salaries by as much as 20 percent, a shift that could lead factories to relocate, he said, adding that “if the situation doesn’t improve, companies will not be able to find enough workers and the economy will have to slow down.”

With urban ills growing across China, cities are looking at Shenzhen for lessons on how to deal with the problems and avert an economic slowdown.

“Because development has been the most rapid in Shenzhen, the problems are the most extreme here,” said Huang Donghe, editor of the Shenzhen Youth Magazine. “But every Chinese city faces the same problems.”

City government plans to tackle the problems include attracting better-paying high-tech manufacturers while forcing heavily polluting firms to clean up or move further inland and improving access to health care and education for migrant workers, said Yang Lixun, a Shenzhen-based government sociologist.

Last year, the government set up a fund to compensate workers left unpaid when companies close. The city also has announced plans to greatly expand the city’s subway system by 2010, build more parks and increase recycling programs.

“In the 1980s and ’90s, Shenzhen developed by attracting low-value manufacturing that stressed high consumption and allowed high levels of pollution,” Yang said. “But now we realize there are problems with that development strategy.”

There is little evidence that the initiatives are working so far, Liu said. He noted that workers continue to have very little access to public services, and pollution and traffic seems to have gotten worse in recent months.

“In China, the most important thing is not to listen to what government officials say but to see if they actually do anything,” he said. “So far, they haven’t done much.”

Zong Qi, a 22-year-old college graduate who moved to Shenzhen from China’s inland Hunan province last year, attests to the difficulties migrants face. Over six months in the city he has changed jobs “more than seven times,” twice because an employer refused to pay him.

“It’s very easy to be tricked and it’s hard to find a boss who cares for workers,” he said between trying to sell postcards to passers-by at the park, a job he had started a week before and that, at most, could earn him the equivalent of $100 a month.

Loneliness is also acute. Since Liu Gang, 32, arrived in Shenzhen nine years ago from China’s central Sichuan province, he has been home to see his wife and daughter “only a few times,” because he wants to save what little money he makes.

“It’s the price migrant workers pay,” he said. “We need the work but we can’t afford to bring our families.”

Experts blame disillusionment and a lack of family ties for a local crime wave.

While Shenzhen does not publish crime data, the Southern Metropolitan News newspaper reported that in just one of the city’s six districts, there were 18,000 robberies in 2004, more than eight times the number reported that year in all of Shanghai.

Partly because of the transient community, the virus that causes AIDS is also spreading quickly, and hotels routinely distribute pamphlets about how to protect against sexual diseases, Huang said.

Like most Chinese cities, Shenzhen does not publish data on the number of residents infected with HIV/AIDS. ( csimons@coxnews.com )

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original report from Statesman.com, In China, ‘Shenzhen speed’ comes with bumps

Posted in AIDS, China, City resident, Economy, employment, Environment, Family, Guangdong, Health, Human Rights, income, Law, Life, News, People, pollution, Rural, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, Worker | 1 Comment »