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China: A Thousand Children Sold To ‘dark Kilns’ In

Published by MAC on 2007-06-13

China: A thousand children sold to ‘dark kilns’ in

Shanxi, Wu Yong,

13th Jun 2007

The petition letter written by 400 parents of the children sold as captive workers to the "dark kilns" in Shanxi (see above) raised grave concerns all over China, especially on internet forums. After the letter being published for 5 days on the internet, it has received more than half a million hits. Many posts in forums expressed anger and shock. Many referred the poor children as modern-day "baoshengong", meaning indentured labourers, and termed the "dark kilns" in Shanxi as the ‘Garden of Masters in Slavery’.

As a result, Zhengzhou police on June 9 started a one-month campaign against abduction and forced labour and set up an information system for all missing / abducted persons in the municipality. On the same day, Henan police also conducted an operation on "Abduction and forced labour". The authorities have said they will impose heavy punishment on unlawful detention, purposeful torture, forced labour and child labour. Henan police reported the incidents to the Public Security Bureau in order to foster collaboration from their Shanxi counterpart.

Henan TV journalist Fu Zhengzhong went to visit Shanxi three times, and witnessed the parents saving 40 of the children. Fu admitted that the main obstacle was the non-collaboration of law enforcement departments, and even illegal acts by a minority of them.

He quoted the example of Zhu Guang-hui. As Zhu was released from a Yongji brick works factory, the Shanxi Labour Monitor Department in turn sold Zhu to another brick works factory. A Labour Monitor official by the name of Feng even took the 300 yuan wage released to Zhu. Fu believes the number of child labourers working in Shanxi ‘dark kilns’ is close to 1,000.

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