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Home arrow Delta arrow South China province to inspect all businesses following claims of child labor
South China province to inspect all businesses following claims of child labor PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 04 May 2008

Authorities in south China's Guangdong Province will inspect all businesses for illegal use of child labor, following media reports of exploitation of children in some cities.

     "Not a single business, not a single employee should be missed in the general inspection," the Southern Daily reported on Friday, citing a statement issued by the Emergency Management Office of the Guangdong provincial government.

     "Illegal use of child labor will be rooted out to protect the legitimate rights of juveniles and maintain social stability," it said.

     But the newspaper, an organ of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, did not say when the inspection will start.

     Media reports have said that hundreds of children, mostly aged nine to 16, have been forced to work in factories in Dongguan, a major export city near Hong Kong, as well as nearby cities, for low wages and long hours.

     The children were said to be brought to the booming towns from poor families in the Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Liangshan, southwest China's Sichuan Province.

     Following the publication of the report on Monday, police and labor authorities in Dongguan have launched an investigation into 3,629 businesses, involving 450,000 employees, Li Xiaomei, vice mayor of Dongguan, said on Wednesday.

     Local authorities have so far found 85 workers who were from  Liangshan, the Southern Daily said Friday, quoting the statement of the emergency management office.

     "An initial investigation shows that most of the people were brought to Dongguan from their hometowns by their foremen after being offered job opportunities. They have no fixed living place and work. They did not bring with them identity cards," the statement said.

     "Of 26 people who are relatively young, only one admitted being 15 years old. The ages of the rest are yet to be confirmed," it said.

     Dongguan police have begun investigating an underground employment agency headed by Wulei Ahuo, of the Yi ethnic group, in Liangshan. The agency allegedly engaged in illegally organizing people from the town to work in Guangdong, the statement said.

     "(We) will strike hard against the underground employment agencies that exploited children, factories that illegally used child labor, and possible human smugglers," it said.

     "(We) will harshly punish them according to law without showing mercy," it added.

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