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Life in Gansu’s villages goes from bad to worse

Life has always been hard for the villagers of Gulang county in Gansu. But now it has got a lot worse. Many of the young men who went down the mines in order to earn a little extra cash for their families are now middle-aged men suffering from the chronic and fatal lung disease pneumoconiosis. They are unable to work and are crippled by debt from their medical bills.
09/02/2010

Financial Times: Chinese province raises wages 13%

A decision by the province that is China’s second-biggest exporter to raise minimum wage rates has heightened expectations that other provinces and cities will soon follow, just as the central government’s attention is shifting from economic stimulus to rising inflation. Eastern Jiangsu province, which exports more than Brazil and South Africa combined, raised its monthly minimum wage rate 13 per cent to Rmb960 ($140) last week. It was the first time the rate had been adjusted in two years.
08/02/2010

Minimum wage set to increase in cities across China

Following the lead of Jiangsu, which announced a 12 percent increase in the minimum wage this month, several other municipalities have indicated they too will raise the minimum wage this year. The cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Dongguan have all separately indicated that the time is now right for an increase in the minimum wage, frozen by central government order on 17 November 2008.
05/02/2010

China's "good news" for workers cannot hide harsh reality

The New Year has already seen a number of announcements in the official Chinese media that seem, on the surface at least, to be good news for workers. Coal mine accidents are down, graduate employment is up, and the authorities in the central province of Hubei have launched a wide-ranging crackdown on forced labour. Of course, the reality behind these "good news" stories is not quite so laudable.

03/02/2010

Call for fairer treatment for migrant children in Beijing goes unheeded

Two civil rights activists in Beijing have urged the municipal authorities to accept the children of migrant workers into city’s kindergartens so that they don’t have to pay high fees at private nurseries or risk sending their children to poorly supervised unlicensed kindergartens. At the same time, officials in Chaoyang district have already taken action to deliberately exclude rather than include migrant children.
02/02/2010

A discussion about a recent Liaowang article, a protest in Suzhou, and more

In this episode, William Nee and Geoffrey Crothall talk about a recent Liaowang article that might give hints as to what labour developments we can expect to see in 2010.  We discuss a massive protest in Suzhou (available at Youtube, in Chinese). 

02/02/2010

Radio Labour's "Solidarity News" Project launched

In order to enhance worker solidarity worldwide - "Solidarity News" - the world's first on-line Internet radio broadcast about labour issues - was created.
02/02/2010

Kyodo News: Schools for migrant children in Beijing face demolition

When school reopens after the Spring Break in February, thousands of children of rural migrant workers in a Beijing district face having no classes to return to as their schools will have been demolished to make way for urban redevelopment. At least 6,000 students, among them young children of kindergarten age, would be affected after some 20 privately run migrant schools in Chaoyang District are torn down by the end of February, according to principals of the schools slated for demolition.
01/02/2010

Toronto Star: Chinese workers: Pay or poison?

In a nation known for social stability – with pliant workers willing to labour long hours for little pay – the scene was stunning. Some 2,000 workers milled about the grounds of a local high-tech factory, overturned a vehicle, smashed computers, hurled objects at police trying to restore order, and succeeded in shutting down one of the largest producers of mobile phone panels in the world. By Chinese standards, it was chaotic.
01/02/2010

Brick factories in Hubei continue to use forced labour despite “crackdown”

Mentally handicapped people are being forced to work at brick factories in the central province of Hubei every day, morning to night, for just 208 yuan a year (less than the weekly minimum wage in Shenzhen), according to a news report broadcast this week on Shanghai-based Dragon TV. The local authorities in Hubei countered in a Wuhan Evening News report the same day (25 January) that they had already launched a campaign to “rectify illegal employment and crackdown on criminal behaviour."
29/01/2010
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