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Reversal of fortune in Dongguan factory closure as suppliers get frozen out instead of workers

When Taiwanese touch screen manufacturer Wintek suddenly closed its two factories in Dongguan last week, the workers left without a fuss after getting a reasonable severance package based on their years of service. The businessmen whose companies supplied the factories and who were owed 230 million yuan however were not so happy.

Remembering the Chinese labourers behind the trenches in World War One

China never sent troops to fight in Europe during the First World War. However, an estimated 135,000 young rural labourers were sent halfway around the world to work in French munitions factories, dig trenches, lay railway lines and remove dead bodies and unexploded ordnance from the battlefields.

A village where no trees grow and men gasp for breath

The antimony mining industry in Lengshuijiang has not only caused serious damage to the environment; it has destroyed the health and wellbeing of the local villagers as well.

Dongguan shopping mall discriminates against cleaners who are not “young and good-looking”

In one of the more bizarre labour disputes to emerge this year, a 60-year-old cleaner at a shopping mall in the southern city of Dongguan has been sacked after exposing his employer’s policy of paying “young and good-looking” cleaners 150 yuan more each month.

Women factory workers in Guangzhou play hardball in negotiations with management

Management at a Guangzhou shoe factory got a nasty shock when their representatives sat down with three worker representatives on Tuesday to discuss the factory’s closure plan.

Factory workers cannot rely on the local government; they need a union to bargain with management

The massive strike at the Yue Yuen shoe factory complex in Dongguan in April highlighted the growing demands of many workers in China for a decent pension and welfare benefits. Local governments and employers are now beginning to listen to those demands but their response has not always been welcomed by the workers.

Workers need to act before they get pushed into a corner

There is a saying in China that “A dog can jump over a high wall if it is pushed into a corner” (狗急跳墙). For many workers in China, the same applies: They can achieve remarkable feats but all too often they will only act when pushed to the limit.

Kunshan tragedy reveals long-term as well as immediate dangers of working in a dust-filled factory

The massive explosion that killed 75 workers and injured 180 others at an automotive components factory in Kunshan on Saturday highlighted once again the extreme dangers of working in a high-dust environment and the persistent failure of employers in China to adequately protect their employees.

Disposing of the evidence: How government officials make work-related accidents go away

When Zhang Lihua’s father was killed along with four co-workers in a road accident on the way to work last year, one of the top priorities of the local authorities was to make sure all the victims were cremated without delay.

Beijing comes up with yet another cunning plan to get rid of migrant workers

For years now, the municipal authorities in Beijing have been trying to control the city’s burgeoning population by making life more and more difficult for migrant workers. The message has been clear: We will tolerate you because we need you but you are not welcome to stay.

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