China: Slave labour in brick kilns

Chinese brick kiln workers
Chinese brick kiln workers

At least 600 people have been freed by authorities from slave labour working in brick kilns in northern China.

Submitted by jef costello on July 2, 2007

The government acted to move against the use of slave labour in Shanxi and Henan provinces, freeing 600 people, 10% of whom were children. However government action appears, at least in part, to be motivated by workers action. A blog set up by parents in Henan reports having freed 40 children from slave labour using direct action.

The government has recently shut many brick kilns employing slave labour. However, while Wang Binbin, owner of a kiln where 31 men had been held hostage and brutally treated over the course of a year, with 8 of them remembering little more than their names, has been arrested, the party officials that licensed his plant remain unpunished.

The action by the authorities can be seen as an attempt to prevent more of the violent reactions to state oppression and corruption that have become more and more common in China recently.