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Beijing education officials fail to honour pledge to help migrant children

Well into the second week of the spring semester, hundreds of migrant children in Beijing’s Chaoyang district still have no school to go to. This despite a pledge made last week by the Chaoyang education committee that; “no school-age child will be out of school.” It seems all the Chaoyang government has done to honour its promise so far is to put up a notice listing the township offices where parents who had yet to find a school for their children could register. However, when questioned by the media, neither parents nor the township offices concerned were even aware of this notice.

Apple's labour report stirs up controversy

Last week, Malcolm Moore of the Daily Telegraph reported on Apple’s own report on labour conditions in its supplier factories. It was revealed that Apple’s suppliers had used child labour and were involved in other widespread labour violations, involving minimum wage, overtime, and excessive working hours.

Paradoxes in China’s job market increasingly apparent

Two recent news reports underscored paradoxes in China’s economic structure, with too few people to work in construction, manufacturing, cleaning and the restaurant sector – positions typically reserved for “migrant workers”. Meanwhile, college graduates face bleak employment prospects, even as the economy hums along at well above 8 percent GDP growth. Women graduates, in particular, are facing difficult employment prospects, and according to a high ranking official of the All-China Women’s Federation, there are five major reasons behind it:

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.

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.

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.

Once again local government picks up the wage tab for failed business

The news today that the Shenzhen government has started paying out the wages owed by failed courier service DDS should not come as a surprise to anyone. Ever since DDS abruptly closed down last week, owing thousands of workers millions of yuan in unpaid wages, employees and company clients across the Pearl River Delta have been on the streets, staging demonstrations and demanding redress.

Rural migrant children at risk in city schools

Two recent incidents have highlighted, once again, the dangers faced by migrant children in urban schools. On 17 January, a toddler died in a fire at an unlicensed kindergarten in Beijing, and yesterday Xinhua reported that the headmaster of a private school for the children of migrant workers in Nanning, Guangxi, had been arrested for beating a student and breaking his arm.

Heavy sentence of journalist who took hush money raises questions

The China Daily and other prominent media outlets have focused on the recent case of journalist Li Junqi who received a 16-year jail sentencing for taking hush money when reporting on a coal mining disaster that killed 34 people in Hebei. Li’s lawyer said that his client did not take the bribes, and he plans to appeal. Li was one of ten journalists and over 48 Party and government officials were involved.

Death imitates art in China’s coal mines

The similarities are chilling. In the multi-award winning movie Blind Shaft (盲井), two miners trick young migrants into working with them as their “relative” before killing them and extorting compensation from the mine boss. In a case reported by the domestic Chinese media on 26 December, a group of criminals murdered at least 17 young men in coal mines across the country before demanding compensation from their bosses.

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