Monday, June 18, 2007

Chinese "Communist" Liberation

China detains 168 after brick kiln slavery scandal

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese police have detained 168 people accused of holding workers in virtual slavery under appalling conditions at brick kilns in north-central provinces of the country, a state newspaper reported on Monday.

Of those, 48 were caught in Shanxi province and the rest in neighbouring Henan, the official China Daily said.

The scandal has undermined the ruling Communist Party's promises to build a "harmonious" society with improved rights and income for the nation's hundreds of millions of poor farmers.

The State Council, or Cabinet, has sent a team to investigate the abuses, which have shocked the country and provoked public outrage.

The government has given each of the freed workers -- more than 500 so far -- 1,000 yuan ($131.2) as "sympathy" money, the Beijing News added.

In recent days, Chinese media have exposed brutal conditions for mostly migrant workers at kilns and privately run mines across resource-rich central China.


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