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Building their own dreams in Shenzhen – a BYD employee talks to CLB

Chinese automotive manufacturer BYD, is probably best know outside China as one of the more lucrative investments of the world’s second richest man Warren Buffett. But what is life like for BYD’s employees; do they really have the opportunity to build their own dreams?

 

Child labour in China: History repeating itself

Three years ago, the Southern Metropolis Daily exposed a child labour trafficking ring that brought teenagers from the remote Liangshan region of Sichuan and sold them to factories across the Pearl River Delta. Three days ago, the same media group, exposed a case of 21 adolescents who had been trafficked from Liangshan and sold to an electronics factory in Shenzhen’s Longgang district. The details of how the children were trafficked and the conditions they worked under were almost identical.

Cycling to Zhuhai – and other migrant worker adventures

The mainstream media in China often portrays young migrant workers as troubled and oppressed and only focuses only on their problems. But last weekend, I had the chance to spend some time with a group of young workers from Shenzhen who displayed a side not often seen in mainstream media – youthful curiosity, imagination, and generosity of spirit.

 

“People’s delegates” out of touch with ordinary people’s lives

Every year, the delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and National People’s Congress (NPC) can be guaranteed to come up with some thought-provoking and often outlandish proposals and suggestions.

 

Who is responsible when a worker dies inside the factory dormitory?

When 36-year-old Li Zhangjian died of a head injury just before the Lunar New Year holiday, his family did what many other migrant worker families do – they traveled down from their hometown in Henan to the luggage factory in Dongguan where Li was employed to demand compensation.

Falsely accused official’s ten year struggle for justice does not bode well for ordinary workers

Early this year, the former president of the Hunan Goods and Materials Corp, Tan Zhaohua, finally cleared his name after being falsely accused of bribery and embezzlement in 2001. The case prompted extensive discussion in the Chinese media, with New Century magazine asking: If it took ten years for a provincial-level official to overcome injustice, what hope was there for ordinary Chinese people?

Shenzhen seeks to mask rather than resolve social unrest

New regulations drafted by the Shenzhen municipal government to outlaw public demonstrations involving self-harming and other disruptive behaviour by petitioners would be funny if they were not quite so tragic. The draft Shenzhen SEZ Petitioning Regulations (深圳经济特区信访条例) state that those who violate the new restrictions on petitioning activities will be detained by the police and punished according to law. Shenzhen lawmakers seem to be unaware of the fact that right now in China, if anyone attempts to harm themselves in public; they will almost certainly be arrested and detained by the police for weeks if not months on end.

Young migrant workers take centre stage

A migrant worker singing duo 旭日阳刚 (A New Dawn), who became an internet sensation last year after they uploaded their cover of Wang Feng’s popular anthem春天里 (In Spring), were accorded the ultimate media accolade last week, a performance on the biggest show on television, CCTV’s New Year Gala.

Is the future of microblogging in China really so bright?

As our website is blocked in mainland China, CLB is now using microblogs to reach our mainland audience and let them know what CLB is doing. Since we started this initiative in November, we have received a warm response from both ordinary citizens and mainstream journalists in China. Although it’s encouraging to note that CLB’s Chinese microblog has over 3,000 followers, the outlook for this new internet sensation is actually not as promising as it seems.

 

Indian official hails China's "flexible" labour laws

India can still learn from both China’s successes and failure. One option might be to reform labour laws to encourage manufacturing, while also ensuring that independent (non-party affiliated, worker-centred) trade unions are able to organize in the private sector in order to ensure more equal economic development. This could, dare I say, help provide for a more harmonious society.

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