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National Day Earthquake Strikes Sichuan

Posted: 10/1/2014 5:05 pm
yuexiu country

Yuexiu County, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan

A 5.0 earthquake hit Sichuan Province this morning, shaking buildings and knocking items off shelves. Fortunately there are no reports of any deaths, reports the People’s Daily Online.

The State Seismological bureau said the earthquake stuck Yuexi county in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture today at 9:23am. The epicenter was 15,000 meters below the surface 39 kilometers from Yuexi County.

The Liangshan fire department has been dispatched to Baoshi and Gu’er, the villages hit hardest by the earthquake.

Photo: Xinhuanet

More children found to be working in Shenzhen factories

Posted: 12/31/2013 10:00 am

A Hong Kong electronics company is suspected of employing more than 70 underage workers in Shenzhen, China Labour Bulletin reports. The workers came from the Yi ethnic group in the remote mountainous region of Liangshan in Sichuan Province, which has been the source of several child-trafficking cases in recent years, according to local media.

The workers in their dorm, image courtesy of Nandu Daily

The bulletin has the harrowing details:

In this latest case, Shenzhen Click Technology reportedly recruited more than half of a group of around 130 children who were trafficked from their villages in Liangshan after the Yi New Year in November. Most of the child workers were girls, because, as one worker told the newspaper, they are “easier to manage.”

Another source told the newspaper that Click Technology usually employed 13- and 14-year-olds and that many of them stayed at the company for two to three years. “But this time,” the source said, “the kids are as young as 12-years-old, some even appear to be under ten.”

The girls initially claimed to be over the legal minimum working age of 16 but later admitted that: “We all came here when we finished the fifth or sixth grade. Most of us are around 12-years-old.”

The girls lived in cramped eight-bed dormitories and bought their lunch from a food vender across the street. The average shift at the factory was 12 hours: “It is very fast-paced on the assembly line, it is a very tiring job,” one girl said.

Meanwhile, the human resources manager at the company and the middleman, who brought the girls on a two-day train ride from Liangshan to Shenzhen, reportedly received a commission of 10,000 yuan per month for the overtime work done by the children.

Although it is not known whether any arrests have ever been made in these cases, there is a long history of factories in coastal boomtowns illegally recruiting underage workers from the Yi ethnic group.

In 2008, at least 167 trafficked child workers in Dongguan were rescued by the local authorities and sent back to Liangshan. Then in 2011, the media exposed another story of 21 adolescents who had been trafficked from Liangshan and sold to an electronics factory in Shenzhen’s Longgang district. The details of how the children were trafficked and the conditions they worked under were almost identical. And in 2012, the China Daily reported that a factory in Suzhou had employed more than ten child workers all of whom were from the Yi minority in Sichuan.

The company is being investigated.


7 primary school kids from Sichuan have been lured to work in a Dongguan factory

Posted: 12/6/2012 1:22 pm

A photo of one of the girls which was uploaded as part of the initial Sina Weibo post.

Seven female primary school students have been enticed into working in a Dongguan toy factory after being driven in a van from their native Liangshan in Sichuan Province. Authorities in both cities are now conducting a search for the girls, according to Southern Metropolis Daily.

Interestingly, it was a post on Sina Weibo that spurred authorities in the remote part of Sichuan into action.

After a December 4 post on Sina Weibo claimed the seven girls had been taken away in a van on Sunday, authorities in Zhaojue County, where the girls went to school, confirmed that they were missing.The post has been forwarded almost 9,000 times.

A teacher from the school, who refused to be named, said the girls ranged in age from 11 to 14 and none of them were particularly good students.

The Liangshan Public Security Bureau began conducting a search yesterday. After one of the girls called home, authorities in Zhaojue were able to verify that the girls were in Dongguan, confirming some of what the initial microblog post had claimed.

A further investigation was able to verify that the girls are working illegally in a toy factory in the city but are safe.

Authorities are confident they will find the girls and bring them home, but their future is highly unlikely to be rosy.

The county is dirt poor and agriculture is the only source of income. A farmer in the county can expect to earn around 923 yuan a year. The girls’ school is the most prestigious in the area but that says very little as all but a tiny few students are expected to start working at 15 or 16 years old.

In 2008, 76 students went missing from the county, the youngest of which was 7. Forty-two are known to have started working in factories.

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