Mainstream News From China

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greets

Chinese village protest turns into riot of thousands

Jonathan Watts in Jiangsu province, China
Tuesday April 12, 2005
The Guardian

Reports that two elderly women were killed during a protest against factory pollution have sparked a bloody riot by thousands of villagers in eastern China.

Several dozen police officers were injured, five seriously, during the clashes in Huankantou village, Zhejiang province, on Sunday. It was the latest of several recent violent demonstrations, of a kind that poses an increasingly serious threat to China's stability.

The two protesters were said to have been killed when officials tried to disperse 200 elderly women who had kept a two-week vigil outside a chemical factory that they blamed for ruined crops and deformities in new-born babies.

Witnesses claimed that police and construction officials from the Dongyang city government were reckless in their attempt to pull down the demonstrators' bamboo shelters and arrest the women.

"They were run over by police cars," one villager told Reuters.

The Dongyang government denies that anyone was killed, saying that was a rumour spread by people with "ulterior motives".

But it acknowledged a rampage by a huge mob of villagers who smashed their way into a school where the police and officials were holed up.

"They were attacked with rocks, cudgels and choppers by thousands of people and more than 30 were hurt and taken to hospital, five in serious condition," a city statement said.

In an attempt to restore order, 3,000 riot police officers were dispatched to the area later in the day. Villagers smashed the windows of 50 of their buses before the police regained control with teargas, clubs and shields.

"People were throwing rocks ... it was chaotic and many people got injured," a witness told Agence France Press.

The authorities imposed a news blackout and journalists trying to enter the area were detained by the police.

The elderly women at the centre of the disturbance were opposed to a plan to build a second chemical factory at the Huashi industrial estate. Their banner read: "Give me back my land. Save my children and grandchildren."

Violent demonstrations are becoming increasingly hard to suppress in a country where economic growth has exacerbated frustration at corruption, environmental destruction and the growing gap between rich and poor.

Government statistics say the number of protests grew by 15% last year to 58,000, with more than 3 million people taking part. In many provincial capitals, roadblocks occur more than once a week. Over the weekend, anti-Japanese demonstrators held rallies in three cities, including Beijing where the windows of the Japanese embassy were smashed.

Last November, at least one person died when tens of thousands of farmers in Sichuan marched against a dam project that will make 100,000 people homeless; and the month before, rioters in Chongqing burned police cars after rumours of corruption.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1457243,00.html

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A bloody revolt in a tiny village challenges Chinese rulers

greets

more..

A bloody revolt in a tiny village challenges the rulers of China

Protesters angry at corruption and poverty repelled 1,000 riot police. But now fear is replacing euphoria in Huankantou

Jonathan Watts in Huankantou
Friday April 15, 2005
The Guardian

There is a strange new sightseeing attraction in this normally sleepy corner of the Chinese countryside: smashed police cars, rows of trashed buses and dented riot helmets.

They are the trophies of a battle in which peasants scored a rare and bloody victory against the communist authorities, who face one of the most serious popular challenges to their rule in recent years.

In driving off more than 1,000 riot police at the start of the week, Huankantou village in Zhejiang province is at the crest of a wave of anarchy that has seen millions of impoverished farmers block roads and launch protests against official corruption, environmental destruction and the growing gap between urban wealth and rural poverty.

China's media have been forbidden to report on the government's loss of control, but word is spreading quickly to nearby towns and cities. Tens of thousands of sightseers and wellwishers are flocking every day to see the village that beat the police.

But the consequences for Huankantou are far from clear.

Having put more than 30 police in hospital, five critically, the 10,000 residents should be bracing for a backlash. Instead, the mood is euphoric. Children have not been to school since Sunday's clash. There are roadblocks outside the chemical factory that was the origin of the dispute. Late at night the streets are full of gawping tourists, marshalled around the battleground by proud locals who bellow chaotic instructions through loudspeakers.

"Aren't these villagers brave? They are so tough it's unbelievable," said a taxi driver from Yiwu, the nearest city. "Everybody wants to come and see this place. We really admire them."

"We came to take a look because many people have heard of the riot," said a fashionably dressed young woman who had come from Yiwu with friends. "This is really big news."

Although the aftermath is evident in a school car park full of smashed police buses, burned out cars and streets full of broken bricks and discarded sticks, the origin of the riot is hazy.

Initial reports suggested that it started after the death of two elderly women, who were run over when police attempted to clear their protest against a chemical factory in a nearby industrial park.

Witnesses confirmed that the local old people's association had kept a 24-hour vigil for two weeks outside the plant. Many said they had heard of the deaths, but no one could name the victims. The local government of Dongyang insists there were no fatalities.

Like many of the other disputes that have racked China in the past year, frustration had been simmering for some time. Locals accused officials of seizing the land for the industrial park - built in 2002 - without their consent. Some blamed toxins from the chemical plant for ruined crops, malformed babies and contamination of the local Huashui river.

The village chief reportedly refused to hold a public meeting to hear these grievances. Attempts to petition the central government also proved fruitless. Locals said they had lost faith in the authorities.

"The communists are even worse than the Japanese," said one man.

Memories are still fresh of the fighting on Sunday. "It was about 4am and I was woken up by an unusual noise," said a Ms Wang, a shopkeeper who lives next to the school where the fiercest fighting took place. "When I looked out of the window, I saw lots of riot police running into the village. Many men rushed out of their houses to defend our village."

Accounts of the conflict differ. Residents say 3,000 police stormed the village, several people - including police - were killed, dozens wounded and 30 police buses destroyed. But the Dongyang government says about 1,000 police and local officials were attacked by a mob, which led to 36 injuries and no deaths.

The outcome is also unclear. Locals say the village chief has fled. In his place, they have established an organising committee, though its members are a secret. This suggests a fear of recriminations, but the public mood is one of bravado.

"We don't feel regret about what we have done," said a middle-aged man. "The police have not come back since they withdrew on Monday. They dare not return."

Some, however, admitted to anxiety. Among them was an old woman - also a Mrs Wang - who reluctantly opened her doors to visitors who had come to see her collection of trophies from the battle.

"I am scared," she said, as she showed two dented riot police helmets, several empty gas canisters, a policeman's jacket and several truncheons and machetes. "This is getting bigger and bigger."

But there have been no arrests and no communication from the authorities. The current leadership will be keen to avoid a Tiananmen Square-style confrontation, including prime minister Wen Jiabao, who pleaded with the Tianan men protesters to leave before the tanks came. At the same time, the authorities are committed to social stability.

According to government statistics, protests increased by 15% last year to 58,000, with more than 3 million people taking part. In many provincial capitals, roadblocks occur more than once a week. Last weekend, anti-Japanese demonstrators rallied in three cities, including Beijing.

But in Huankantou, villagers do not seem to realise that although they have won the battle, they may be far from winning the war.

Amid a crowd of locals beside a wrecked bus, one middle-aged woman won a cheer of approval by calling for the government to make the first move towards reconciliation.

"It's up to them to start talking," she said. "I don't know what we would do if the police came back again, but our demand is to make the factory move out of the village. We will not compromise on that."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,7369,1460263,00.html

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China mine probe reporter killed

Beijing has pledged to improve the mining industry
A Chinese journalist has been beaten to death while investigating the country's notoriously dangerous coal mining industry, his newspaper has said.
Lan Chengzhang was set upon by a "group of mining thugs" near a mine in Huiyuan county, Shanxi province, the Beijing-based China Trade News said.

Another newspaper quoted a journalist with Mr Lan as saying the attack had been ordered by a local coal mine boss.

China's coal mines are among the most dangerous in the world.

More than 5,000 deaths are reported every year, many of them in illegal or unregulated mines.

Lan Chengzhang had only just started at the newspaper and was still in his trial period when he was killed, the China Trade News' head of news Wang Jianfeng said.

Mr Wang said the newspaper had sent a team to investigate the killing and had made official complaints to the local police and government.

"We will do everything we can to protect the rights of journalists," he told the AFP news agency.

Search for profits

Mr Lan had been investigating the story with a fellow journalist, another newspaper, the Southern Daily, reported.

The surviving journalist accused an unnamed boss of a coal mine in Huiyuan of orchestrating the beating.

He said he had been detained in the boss's office while the attack was carried out, the newspaper said.

Beijing has pledged to take action to improve the mining industry, which is blighted by poor safety procedures and a lack of proper equipment.

Mine owners are accused of frequently ignoring government regulations in search of greater profits.

Coal provides more than two-thirds of China's electricity.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6266531.stm
 

rynner2

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Seems to me we are getting much more info now from the Republic of China, and as the Olympics approach there will be much, much more.

Here's a strange one (saw it on TV the other day):
All eyes on the ‘nail house’ as lone protester waits on high
Jane Macartney in Beijing

Yang Wu may have the attention of all China focused on his battle with the might of the state, but his wife is getting worried.

It is several days since Wu Ping had contact with her husband, who is holed up in their home atop a pinnacle of land carved into an island by property developers digging out the foundations for a new complex. “I don’t know anything about his physical condition because no one can climb up to the house now,” she told The Times. “It is too dangerous and so I’m worrying about him.”

Mr Yang has been holding out for a week in his “nail house” — a play on a phrase for troublemakers who stick up like nails and refuse to go along with government orders.

Under the eyes of the nation, the 51-year-old martial arts expert is battling to protect his rights against demands of property developers who have been trying to raze his block in the southwestern city of Chongqing since 2004. He and his wife have refused to follow the other 280 residents who moved out in exchange for compensation or a flat in the new development.

Mrs Wu says that the couple have the law on their side, particularly since Communist China’s first property law was passed this month, although it does not take effect until October.

Mr Yang scrambled up the near-vertical cliff to his home last Thursday, the day before a government deadline to vacate the property expired. Using ropes, he hauled up supplies of water and gas bottles to sustain him during the siege. He planted a national flag on the roof and hung out a hand-written banner: “A citizen’s legal property is not to be violated.”

The couple have been offered about £135,000 in compensation, or two higher floors of the new building. They have turned down both because they want a lower storey so that Mrs Wu can run her restaurant.

Ms Wu said: “I have no other request but to give me a house similar in area and position to the current one.”

Wang Hongju, the Mayor of Chongqing, has said that the Government would try to solve the stand-off but would not tolerate an exorbitant price or unreasonable demands. Yesterday local officials gave Mr Yang one more day to leave the property or face demolition.

The Chinese media has waded into the debate. The China Youth Dailycommented: “If the Government does not respect people’s rights in this case, it will raise suspicions about the entanglement of civil rights, property development and government interests.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 582245.ece
 

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Demolition ends China house row

The home of a Chinese family who defied property developers in a high-profile campaign has finally been demolished.
The family of Wu Ping gave up defending their Chongqing house after reportedly reaching a deal with the authorities.

The "nail house" - so called because it refused to be hammered down - had been isolated in a huge construction pit after other households agreed to move.

The dispute became a cause celebre for ordinary Chinese people who have tried to fight property developers.

But the struggle came to an end on Tuesday, when a few dozen people looked on as the two-storey brick building was broken up by an earth mover.

A night watchman at the building site told AFP news agency: "The stubborn nail has been removed."

Mrs Wu, when told the house had been demolished, reportedly said: "Oh well."

New law

Her husband, Yang Wu, stayed in the house until the demolition, hanging out banners reading: "The legal private property of citizens cannot be violated."

The family had insisted on staying in their home, because they were not satisfied with the compensation the authorities were offering.

Mrs Wu said earlier that she had been offered an apartment in a planned new complex, or a cash settlement, but she turned both down.

According to state news agency Xinhua, the couple have now agreed to move into another apartment elsewhere in Chongqing.

Accusations of illegal land grabs and corruption have dogged China's fast-paced building expansion, and the family's resistance has been portrayed as heroic by state media.

China's parliament last week passed a landmark law to boost protection of property rights for individuals.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-p ... 520317.stm
Video here
http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid ... w=bb&mp=wm
 

Xanatico

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As I understood they were running a restaurant in the downstairs part of the house. So just giving them another apartment doesn´t seem enough.
 

AsamiYamazaki

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Not sure if this should be here or the irony thread

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/0 ... index.html

China reporter held over cardboard-in-buns
TV reporter detained for fabricating story on steamed buns stuffed with cardboard

A city-wide inspection of bun vendors found no such cases, China Daily said

Beijing TV apologized for failing to check the report's authenticity

China is reeling from a series of tainted food and drug scandals
Next Article in World »




BEIJING, China (Reuters) -- Beijing police have detained a television reporter for allegedly fabricating an investigative story about steamed buns stuffed with cardboard at a time when China's food safety is under intense international scrutiny.


A city-wide inspection of steamed bun vendors found no "cardboard buns," the China Daily said.

A report directed by Beijing TV and played on state-run national broadcaster China Central Television last Thursday said an unlicensed snack vendor in eastern Beijing was selling steamed dumplings stuffed with cardboard soaked in caustic soda and seasoned with pork flavoring.

Beijing authorities said investigations had found that an employee surnamed Zi had fabricated the report to garner "higher audience ratings", the China Daily said on Thursday.

"Zi had provided all the cardboard and asked the vendor to soak it. It's all cheating," the paper quoted a government notice as saying.

A city-wide inspection of steamed bun vendors in the wake of the report had found no such cases, the paper said.

Don't Miss
Execution underscores concern over 'Made in China'
China vows to improve food safety
Beijing TV had apologized for failing to check the report's authenticity and said it would make efforts to improve staff ethics, the paper added.

China is reeling from a series of tainted food and drug scandals that have sparked criticism at home and abroad.

The deaths of patients in Panama from mislabeled drug ingredients from China, deadly toxins in pet food exported to the United States and food laced with hazardous antibiotics and chemicals have raised fears about the safety of China's surging exports.

On Wednesday, Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to improve food safety in a meeting with a visiting Japanese House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono, Kyodo news agency reported. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 Reuters. All rights reserved.
 

rynner2

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At least it's not just the beeb and C4 inventing stuff!

The reported news is often weird enough anyway (see my recent posts in Fortean News Stories), without reporters deliberately screwing it up!
 

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Police crack China baby sale gang
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7827800.stm

Police in southern China have broken up a gang that abducted migrant workers' children to sell in distant provinces, state media reports.

The children, mostly toddlers aged two or three years old, were snatched in Hunan's province's Yueyang city while they were playing or sleeping.

They were sold for between 860 yuan ($125, £86) and 26,000 yuan ($3,800), the Beijing News said.

Five children had been rescued and 13 suspects arrested, Xinhua said.

The children were snatched in broad daylight by gang members on motorbikes, it added.

Police said they did not know how many children had been abducted altogether. The abductions began in September 2008, Xinhua reported.

Child trafficking is seen as a growing problem in China, despite government attempts to crack down on it.

The problem is exacerbated by strict birth control policies, which limit many couples to only one child.

Some families want a boy - one of the children seized in Yueyang was abandoned when she was found to be a girl, the Beijing News said.

Families may also buy trafficked women and children to use as extra labour and household servants.

Last year, the Chinese government launched a campaign against slavery after it emerged that hundreds of children were being forced to work in brick kilns and mines in Shanxi province.
 

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There may be a thread for this but I can't find it. I know there have been such cases in Latin America.

China parents lynch book salesman
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8327219.stm

China's parents harbour violent fears for their few children's safety
A mob of parents have killed a book salesman and badly injured four of his colleagues after rumours spread that the men were a human smuggling ring.

China's official Xinhua news agency said the attack, at a primary school, occurred while the group handed out leaflets about a lecture.

As gossip spread that a gang was trying to ensnare the young pupils, parents surrounded and set upon the men.

Child smuggling gangs have preyed on Chinese children for years.

Gang fears

The incident took place in the early morning at the Chumen Primary School in Yuhuan County in east China's Zhejiang Province.

The parents surrounded the five salesmen and attacked them, a police spokesman said.

The salesmen were later saved by police officers and sent to a local hospital where one of them died and four are still receiving treatment.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children go missing in China each year, seized by roving criminal gangs to serve as props for beggars or for sale to childless couples.

Estimates are difficult to come by, though the Ministry of Public Security reported investigating 2,566 potential trafficking cases last year.

Boys, particularly toddlers, can fetch 30,000 yuan ($6,100) on the black market. Girls fetch much less, around the equivalent of $500, according to media reports.

Child trafficking is seen as a growing problem in China, despite government attempts to crack down on it.

The problem is exacerbated by strict birth control policies, which limit many couples to only one child.

There have been several high profile cases of abducted children being rescued from mines and brick kilns - prompting a Chinese government campaign against slavery.

The authorities launched the country's first anti-trafficking programme in Yunnan province two years ago.
 

ramonmercado

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I think this article provides some context to what happened.

China rescues kidnapped children
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8329172.stm

The children of migrant workers are often targets
Police in China say they have recovered more than 2,000 children in a six-month campaign against human trafficking.

The ministry of public security has set up a website with pictures of some of those kidnapped, in the hope of returning them to their families.

The ministry website has pictures of 60 children, ranging from babies to young adults, who were kidnapped from their families.

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children go missing in China each year.

Tragic trade

The 2,008 rescued children come from across China, and some have already been reunited with their parents.

Some of the older children on the "Babies Looking for Home" website were kidnapped years ago, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Criminal gangs steal the children and sell them to childless couples.


Some children have previously been found enslaved in brick kilns
State media have reported a string of arrests in recent months, including 42 suspects picked up last week for allegedly selling 52 children in the north of China.

In China's patriarchal society, baby boys are especially prized, sometimes selling for as much as $6,000 (£3,670), says the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Beijing.

Girls are sometimes sold for just $500 (£305), he says.

Children of poor farmers or migrant workers are often targeted. The parents of such children have complained in the past of official indifference to their plight.

Human trafficking is seen as a growing problem in China. Some families buy trafficked women or children to use as extra labour or household servants.

There have been several high-profile cases of abducted children being rescued from mines and brick kilns.

Increased wealth and freedom of movement in China have made human trafficking both more profitable and easier, analysts say.

Beijing has promised to do more. A national DNA database was set up this year to help trace missing children.
 

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More on child abduction in China.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8383116.stm

China executes two men convicted of child trafficking
Young child sits in a cardboard box on the edge of a road in Beijing
The children of migrant workers are often targets

China has executed two men convicted of abducting and selling children, state media has reported.

Hu Minghua, 55, and Su Binde, 27 were earlier found guilty of kidnapping and selling 15 children, mostly young boys, Xinhua news agency said.

It said only six of the children, most of them aged between three and six, had been returned to their families.

Last month Chinese police said they had recovered more than 2,000 children in a six-month campaign against trafficking.

In the latest case, it is unclear whom the children were being sold to.

Some parents are prepared to buy a stolen child if they can not have a boy of their own.
Damian Grammaticas
BBC News, Beijing

China's child snatching scourge

But the BBC's Damien Grammaticas in Beijing says China's "one-child" policy - combined with a preference for sons - is party responsible for the rise in child trafficking within the country.

Some parents are prepared to buy a stolen child if they can not have a boy of their own, our correspondent says.

Boys in China can be bought for about $5,000 (£3,036) each. They are prized as they continue the family name and traditionally care for elderly parents, our correspondent adds.

Crackdown

Hu Minghua and Su Binde were executed on Thursday, Xinhua said.

Hu had been convicted of snatching and selling nine children in 1999-2005, while Su had been found guilty for kidnapping and selling six children in 2005-06.

Many of the children are snatched while playing on the street or waiting at bus and train stations.

Their parents are often poor migrant workers unable to keep a constant watch over the children.

In its attempt to try to curb the trade, China has this year handed down a total of 1,700 convictions.

Since April, 2,008 children have been rescued across the country, and some have already been reunited with their parents, officials say.
 

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Chinese girls freed from basement chains
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_p ... 130380.stm
Map

Police in Wuhan, central China, have freed two teenage girls who had been kept chained in a basement for almost a year, Chinese media say.

The girls, aged 16 and 19, were rescued after a repairman found a note they had smuggled out in a broken television.

The suspected captor, 39-year-old Zeng Xiangbao, had been in custody for a week in an unrelated rape case.

It is unclear whether the girls, who were naked when found, had been sexually abused.

The pair were found shackled in an underground room of a two-storey house in the city in Hubei province, the Beijing News reported.

The 19-year-old, who was reported missing in July last year, lived only 200m away from the house where she had been confined.

The uncle of one victim said the pair, who had been surviving on pot noodles they had found in the room after their captor failed to return, would have starved to death had they not been found.
'Help'

The discovery was made after a repairman, after removing the cover of a TV to fix it, found the girls' note.

"Help! I have been held in an underground place for more than a year," the note read, along with a sketch of where they were being kept and the phone number of the 19-year-old's father.

A friend of the repairman called the father's number and then alerted the police.

Officers searched the area and eventually discovered the underground room, which had been disguised by boards and layers of soil.

Mr Zeng, the suspected captor who lived in the house with his 70-year-old mother, had been arrested a week earlier on a rape charge.

Divorced last year, Mr Zeng worked at a nearby kiln and was a quiet man, according to the South China Morning Post.

The girls had put notes in pot noodle and bread packaging on previous occasions in an attempt to summon help, but they had not been found.
 

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China 'rocket farmer' wins cash in demolition dispute
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_p ... 565868.stm

By Chris Hogg
BBC News, Shanghai Yang Youde firing home-made cannon from his home in Yuhan, China 6 June 2010 Yang Youde fired rockets at developers aiming to demolish his home

A farmer in China who fired improvised rockets at demolition teams says he has been rewarded with a generous compensation package.

Yang Youde, a 56-year old farmer, was told his land was needed to build new offices.

The developers offered him compensation but he did not think it was enough.

The case highlights the efforts some Chinese are taking to preserve their property rights in the face of forced relocation by government officials.

Mr Youde built a watchtower. When demolition teams arrived, he fired home made rockets towards them, repelling them twice.
Attitude shift

His actions were reported in the Chinese media and by foreign journalists. But local officials were very unhappy.

His elder brother who helped him guard the land was attacked and severely injured at the end of last month.

The authorities deny they were involved.

But Mr Yang has told Chinese state media that since the incident the officials have changed their attitude and become more cooperative.

His lawyer told the BBC the farmer will now receive a compensation package worth more than $112,000 (£74,000), five times the amount offered initially by the developers.

His case has drawn attention to the so-called "nail households" - a phrase used to describe people who refuse to be beaten down by pressure from the authorities.

Many have taken extreme measures to try to protect their property from being seized by officials or developers.

In March, two elderly men in Jiangsu province set themselves on fire to try to stop the local government demolishing their pig farm.

A woman in Shanghai threw petrol bombs at a demolition team last year to protest at their efforts to tear down her home.

Forced evictions are one of the most common causes of unrest in China.

Some lawyers in China say new legislation is needed to ensure that forced demolitions are properly supervised to safeguard the rights of property owners.
 

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'Poisoned' Chinese workers turn to Apple for help
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12550429

Wintek factory in Suzhou Wintek makes touchscreens on contract for Apple and other mobile firms.

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Chinese workers injured while making touchscreens for mobile devices, including iPhones, have written to Apple asking it to do more to help them.

Some 137 workers suffered adverse health effects following exposure to a chemical, known as n-hexane.

They claim that the Taiwanese factory owner has not given them enough compensation.

Apple did not offer comment on the letter.

Five workers, including 27-year-old Jia Jingchuan, have signed a letter to chief executive officer Steve Jobs, asking Apple to offer more help over the incidents.

They say that the factory owner has not given enough compensation, has pressured those who took compensation to give up their jobs and failed to offer assurance that workers who may suffer fresh illnesses will have medical bills taken care of.
Long-term damage

Wintek, the Taiwanese company that owns the factory, said that it used the chemical in place of alcohol because it evaporated more quickly and speeded up production of touchscreens.

It has now reverted to using alcohol to clean screens.
Jia Jingchuan, a worker for Wintek Jia Jingchuan is among victims of the chemical poisoning

Workers exposed to n-hexane experienced faintness and tiredness, sweaty hands and feet, numbness in hands and swelling and pain in feet. Some claim they are still suffering ill-effects.

Experts say that daily exposure to n-hexane can cause long-term damage.

In its annual report, published last week, Apple acknowledged the incident.

"In 2010 we learned that 137 workers at the Suzhou facility of Wintek, one of Apple's suppliers, had suffered adverse health effects following exposure to n-hexane, a chemical in cleaning agents used in some manufacturing processes," the report read.

"We required Wintek to stop using n-hexane and to provide evidence that they had removed the chemical from their production lines," it said.

Apple said it also asked the firm to provide adequate ventilation in the factory. It will monitor the plant and will reaudit the facility later this year.

Wintek also supplies components to a number of other companies, including Nokia and HTC.

This is not the first problem Apple has experienced with its Chinese factories.

Its annual report also references an incident at its main China supplier Foxconn's factory, where over a dozen workers committed suicide.

"We were disturbed and deeply saddened to learn that factory workers were taking their own lives," the report read.

It said "suicide prevention specialists" were working with Foxconn to improve conditions.
 

Stormkhan

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They claim that the Taiwanese factory owner has not given them enough compensation.

Apple did not offer comment on the letter.
A valid point but surely it's the Taiwanese government that should decide on the compensation awarded. Apple may be an incredibly wealthy corporation but I presume the reason they use Taiwanese manufacturers is the low cost. This would be linked to working conditions but apart from Apple buying the parts from the manufacturers, they're not responsible for working conditions. Morally, perhaps, but morals have nothing to do in the free market economy.

It aint right but Apple aren't obliged to do anything about overseas companies compensation schemes.
 

ramonmercado

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Well actually Apple and other companies find it is in their interests to worry about how their contractors treat their workers. Otherwise they become subject to international campaigns. Just recently Apple severed connections with firms that were using child labour.

A lot of people do think it matters, enough to make it Apples while to respond.
 

Anome

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Of course, the big joke is that Apple are not the only people using these plants. They contract to most of the IT industry in the West.

It's just that Apple has a higher profile, at least in the public conscience. All of the stories of suicides at the Foxconn plant were about Apple, never mind that they do just as much work for Dell and HP.

That said, they deserve compensation, and if Apple can intervene in their favour, good luck to them. Apple should only have to pay compensation if it's a direct result of their actions.
 

Stormkhan

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Don't get me wrong. If bad practice has hurt these workers or their families then they deserve fair compensation.
But, as I read it, it seemed like the workers were demanding higher compensation from a foreign firm after being shat on from their own firms and government.

Apple (like any multi-billion concern) will use cheap labour - that's how they become so wealthy. They can pull their contracts from firms who treat their workers badly. They will still want their stuff built on the cheap, just from a different "firm" which is owned or at least influenced by the government. Same factory, different name of bod in charge.
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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Ignorance is bliss.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/24/wintek-foxconn-chinese-labor_n_827288.html

Willful Ignorance: How Apple And Other Electronics Giants Gain the Benefits of Chinese Labor

Huffington Post. Yepoka Yeebo Reporting. [email protected].

Apple again finds itself under scrutiny about the treatment of workers in foreign factories, following disclosures that laborers at a Chinese plant producing iPhone screens suffered neurological damage from exposure to a toxic chemical.

Injured workers said they left the hospital before they fully recovered, and some were still suffering the effects of n-hexane, a chemical which, with daily exposure, may cause long-term and irreversible nerve damage. Earlier this week, workers told the New York Times that many were forced to accept compensation and resign after signing papers which absolved the company which runs the factory, Wintek, of liability. Wintek denied workers were pressed to sign the papers.

For Apple and other consumer electronics giants tapping the global supply chain, this sort of controversy has become familiar. Last year, Apple confronted a spate of suicides at a factory complex in southern China operated by a manufacturing contractor, Foxconn.

Apple has has portrayed these events as tragic aberrations, the result of departures from its strict labor standards by contractors. But many labor experts challenge that notion, asserting that a key reason so many manufacturers have shifted production to low-wage foreign countries like China is to gain the savings of a fundamentally exploitative mode of production, while largely insulating their companies from culpability.

Like many major consumer electronics brands, Apple relies on a network of foreign contractors to produce its products. Those contractors in turn farm out orders for parts and raw materials to a still larger collection of subcontractors. The big brands have strict official codes of conduct on labor standards, and they hire auditing firms to conduct inspections. But the number of plants involved in the typical manufacture of a single product such as the iPhone is typically so large that many avoid inspection. Plant managers are under such pressure to meet deadlines and deliver low costs that workers are often forced to labor amid dangers, and beyond legal overtime provisions.

Labor experts describe this process as essentially business as usual, with the suffering of workers amounting to an unavoidable byproduct. Brands such as Apple have managed to reap the cost savings and largely avoid blame through willful ignorance, experts add: they farm out production to contractors like Wintek and Foxconn precisely so they are able express shock and amazement when -- inevitably -- workers rights are violated or illness or death results.

How aware are multinational companies of possible safety violations in the factories they rely on to produce their goods? "A better question is how aware do they want to be," said Anna Han, a Chinese trade expert at Santa Clara Law School in California. "They don't have to see what they don't want to see, it makes it easier for them to walk away thinking everything is fine."

She was not accusing Apple and other manufactures of deliberately violating labor standards, but rather tolerating such breaches as an inevitable product of the global supply chain. By putting contractors in charge, they shield themselves from direct responsibility, she said.

"It helps them be ignorant," she said.

...
More at link.
 

ramonmercado

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Shanghai cancels St Patrick's Day parade over fears of revolt
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/fro ... 86296.html
CLIFFORD COONAN in Beijing

Mon, Mar 07, 2011

THE ST Patrick’s Day parade in China’s financial capital Shanghai has been cancelled amid concerns the “Jasmine Revolutions” sweeping states with authoritarian governments in the Middle East could spread to the Asian giant.

The Communist Party, staging its annual National People’s Congress in Beijing, said yesterday calls for protests in China were doomed because Chinese people treasured peace and stability.

However, it is clearly worried about the spread of anti-government sentiment, and has taken steps including stopping next Saturday’s annual parade for Irish expatriates and their Chinese friends and families in Shanghai. The parade attracts thousands of visitors every year and is part of a four-day event.

“The parade is off. We were told by the Public Security Bureau we could not have a public gathering. We’re bitterly disappointed as we spent two months working on it, but that’s life,” said one member of the organising committee who requested anonymity.

The annual parade was due to move along Nanjing Donglu, Shanghai’s most famous street, which runs past People’s Square – a site specified in online calls for citizens to take “an afternoon stroll” in a sign of passive resistance.

Organisers were refused permission to stage the parade elsewhere. The Irish community will hold a scaled-down event in the Shanghai Centre plaza.

The Beijing St Patrick’s Day parade, due to be held on Sunday, March 20th, in Chaoyang Park, a few kilometres from the city centre, will go ahead as planned.

“Over the past 30 years or more, China’s success and economic progress has been broadly recognised. The Communist Party’s leadership and government’s policies are in line with the people’s will and their hearts,” said Wang Hui, spokeswoman for the Beijing city government.

“Cool-headed people know these people have chosen the wrong place, and their ideas and plans are wrong. In Beijing we have had and will have no such incidents,” she said.

It is hard to tell what security presence is in Beijing to stop the phantom protests taking place on the Wangfujing shopping street and what is here to provide the usual heavy security for the National People’s Congress. About 740,000 police, security guards and ordinary citizens have been drafted in to provide security for the congress.

Foreign reporters have been barred from sites of would-be protests and threatened with having their residence visas revoked.
 

rynner2

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China's new economic power fans fear, BBC poll finds
By Andrew Walker, Economics correspondent, BBC World Service

Public concern is growing about China's increasing economic power, according to a new global poll conducted for BBC World Service.
The survey was carried out by the international polling firm GlobeScan/PIPA among more than 28,000 people in 27 countries.

It reveals that the respondees who say that China becoming more powerful economically is a bad thing have increased substantially across a number of China's key trading partners—and especially in the major rich countries
Compared to BBC World Service polling in 2005, negative views of China's growing economic power rose - and are now in the majority - in the US, France, Canada, Germany and Italy.

Negative views also grew significantly in countries such as the UK and Mexico but remain outnumbered by positive views in those countries.
But across the survey as a whole, China was still viewed positively.
Across all countries polled, an average of 50% expressed a positive view of China's economic power, while 33% were negative.

The two nations with the most positive views of China's economic growth were in Africa - Nigeria (82%) and Kenya (77%).
Indeed positive views were in the majority in all five African countries surveyed.

Across the developing nations polled, positive views of China were more numerous than negative ones - with the exception of just one country, Mexico.

So what is behind these feelings about China's growing economic weight?
The survey does not tell us for sure, but there are some obvious candidate explanations.

In the period since the earlier poll - in 2005 - the world has been through an episode called the great recession, a result of the financial crisis.
The developed world was hard hit. The rebound now underway in the global economy is led by developing countries, notably China.
The recovery in the rich nations by contrast is more sluggish. The rise in unemployment caused by the recession is likely to take years to reverse.

Tom Friedman, the influential New York Times columnist and Pullitzer Prize winner, told the BBC: "there's no question that China's rise, coinciding with a sense of stagnation and paralysis among many of the leading western democracies, is psychologically unsettling".

There is also a very specific economic issue, and that does emerge in the BBC survey.
People were asked if they think China trades fairly with other countries.
Those saying China is unfair were above 50% in Japan, South Korea, Germany and Italy. In the US, the figure was 45%, compared with 24% saying that it was fair.

The particular policy that has attracted so much attention, in the media and in business, is China's approach to its currency, holding its value down by intervening in the foreign exchange market.
Critics, and there are many of them, say that gives Chinese industry an unfair competitive advantage.
Tom Friedman is particularly caustc about this policy: "That's part of a broader concern of people which is that China is still in many ways a freeloader on the international system. It's not a stakeholder."

And what about the more positive view in the developing world?
In some countries especially in Africa, China has been investing heavily.
That brings jobs and infrastructure, though critics do see it as a grab for African resources, especially its energy and metals.

Perhaps some also welcome the sight of a developing nation emerging as an increasingly serious challenger to the rich world.
In some business circles, even among those who criticise China's policies, many nonetheless see the country as an opportunity.
More than a billion consumers are going to buy more goods and services as their living standards rise and Chinese firms will not be able to supply everything.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12867892
 

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China police detain man over 'sex slaves' in basement
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-15031475

Related Stories

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Police in China have detained a man on suspicion of imprisoning and raping six women in a basement for two years and of killing two of them.

Reports said the man, 34-year-old firefighter Li Hao, had dug two rooms underneath the basement he bought in Luoyang city, Henan, four years ago.

He then kidnapped the women, all of whom are said to have worked in nightclubs or bars.

He was arrested after he let one of the women leave and she went to police.

Police confirmed that they had arrested Mr Li on 6 September and that an investigation was ongoing.

Shallow grave
The Southern Metropolis Daily reported that the women were held in a cellar four metres (12ft) below the basement in a residential district of the city.

The newspaper said that Mr Li repeatedly raped the women and only gave them food every two days to keep them weak.

The women were only allowed to leave when he needed them to sleep with other men for cash, it said, and this was how one of the women, a 23-year-old, managed to escape.

When she guided police to the basement, they found three more women.

They also found the bodies of two women buried in a shallow grave in the corner of the cellar.

Mr Li, who is reportedly married with a wife and child, was arrested as he tried to leave the city.

An official from the Luoyang public security bureau told China Daily police were conducting tests to assess his mental competence.

The journalist from the Southern Metropolis Daily who first reported the story, meanwhile, said he had been visited by two men - apparently from the local authorities - who asked for his source and warned him he had been revealing "state secrets".

"They believed that the report tarnished their image. But this is a typical crime. The public needs to know the truth," Ji Xuguang told the Global Times newspaper.
 

Gravenwee21524

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Sorry if this has been posted already!

your thoughts?

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11 ... 94704.html

Edit to Add:
Strange Chinese Grid Patterns On Google Earth Prompt Conspiracy Theories (Pictures)

Mystery gridlines in the Chinese desert that were captured by Google Earth have spawned wild and worrying conspiracy theories.

Labyrinth-like, the pictures depict apparently man-made structures that look like thick white lines visible from space. Others show circular swirls, with jets surrounded by military trucks at the centre.

The puzzling patterns have prompted the question: What on earth is China up to?

A defence expert has compared the circular grids to Area 51, the American military test base rumoured to be the secret headquarters for examining aliens and UFOs.

Tim Ripley from Jane's Defence Weekly, told the Telegraph: "The picture of the circle looks very like a missile test range, with target and instrumentation set out to record weapon effects. The Americans have lots of these in Nevada - Area 51." ...
 
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Mythopoeika

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The Chinese are preparing for a (hypothetical or actual) war with America.
They have a space-to-ground missile delivery system, and the grids are for testing the launch vehicle's pattern recognition capabilities. It would still be able to launch an attack even though GPS might be knocked out.

Just guessing.
 

Spookdaddy

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Mythopoeika said:
...Also, one of the grids maps onto the street layout in part of Washington D.C.
I think that may be a little overly-specific - most US cities are built on a grid pattern as are many new city developments worldwide, including those in China. I suspect that you could get a rough match of that grid pattern in any number of places and that extrapolating a theoretical bombing raid aimed specifically at the US capital from a grid in the Chinese desert may be pushing it a little bit. (And military planners would probably be more interested in dockyards, transport hubs and industrial centres anyway; you can bet a bag of toffees that, if China and the US started kicking off, no-one of any importance would actually be sitting in either Washington or Beijing).

Having said that I think they are probably military. I did wonder about land art first time I saw them, the Chinese and Mongolians quite like that stuff and there's a well known land artist - (Australian, I think - can't recall his name) who does some pretty massive stuff, and has, I think, worked in the region. To be honest though - they're just too damn ugly - I'd want my money back. (And I think the chap I'm thinking of does stuff that looks more natural than this.)

Edit: Looking at the patterns again, I think that the regular grid is simply a mock-up of a generic new city street pattern, and the irregular grid a generic old city street pattern.
 

henry

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looks to be a passing resemblance to downtown DC
 

CarlosTheDJ

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It's a grid used to calibrate satellites, boringly enough.
 
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