Monthly Archives: April 2008

Child labor cases uncovered in China

SHANGHAI: China said Wednesday that it was investigating whether hundreds or perhaps thousands of children from poor areas in the southwest part of the country had been sold to work as slave laborers in booming coastal factory cities.

Authorities in southern Guangdong Province, near Hong Kong, said they had already rescued more than 100 children from factories in Dongguan, a huge manufacturing city known for producing and exporting toys, textiles and electronics.

The children, mostly 13 to 15 years old, were often tricked or kidnapped by employment agencies working in an impoverished part of western Sichuan Province, and then sent to factory towns in Guangdong, where they were often forced to work as much as 300 hours a month for little money, according to government officials and accounts from the state-owned media.

The authorities in southern China said Wednesday that they had arrested several people involved in the case and that they were trying to determine the identities of the children.

“These youngsters have no ID cards, so it makes it difficult to identify them,” said Zhang Xiang, a spokesman for the Guangdong Labor Bureau. The child labor scandal was uncovered by Southern Metropolis Daily, a crusading newspaper based in Guangzhou, in southern China, less than a year after the authorities said they had rescued hundreds of people, including children, from working as “slave laborers” in brick kilns in the north and central part of the country.

Many of the workers in that case also said they had been kidnapped.

The new child labor case “is quite typical,” said Hu Xingdou, a professor of economics and social policy at the Beijing Institute of Technology. “China’s economy is developing at a fascinating speed, but often at the expense of laws, human rights and environmental protection.”

Professor Hu said that although Beijing had pushed to improve labor conditions throughout the nation, local governments were still driven by incentives to make their economies grow, so they tried to lure cheap labor. “Most of the work force comes from underdeveloped or poverty-stricken areas,” he said. “Some children are even sold by their parents, who often don’t have any idea of the working conditions.”

The child labor cases are an embarrassment to the Chinese government, which has in recent years announced a series of nationwide crackdowns on child labor and labor law violations.

But experts say rising labor, energy and raw-material costs, and labor shortages in some parts of southern China, have caused some factory owners to cut costs or find new sources of cheap labor, including child labor.

Even factories that supply global companies, including Wal-Mart Stores, have been accused in recent years of using child labor, and violating local labor laws. Big corporations have stepped up their factory audits, but suppliers are sometimes adept are hiding operations and workers from auditors.

Officials in Dongguan say they are now investigating all factories in the area to determine whether any are employing children. Young people can legally go to work in factories when they turn 16.

In a series of articles this week, journalists working for Southern Metropolis Daily wrote that they had traveled to Liangshan, a prefecture in Sichuan Province, to pose as recruiters and to interview parents and other residents.

The newspaper said recruiters and labor agencies working in Liangshan often transported children south and then “sold” them to factories at virtual auctions in Guangdong Province, one of China’s biggest manufacturing centers and home to a huge population of migrant workers.

At some coastal factories, children were even lined up and selected based on their body type, the journalists wrote.

The newspaper also alleged that when the children were paid, they received about three renminbi per hour, or about 43 cents, far below the local minimum wage, about 64 cents an hour. By law, overtime pay is much higher.

Chen Fulin, a government spokesman in Liangshan, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the articles on child labor in Southern Metropolis Daily were correct.

“So far, we have detected and found four people in Zhaojue County suspected of luring the youngsters from Liangshan to Dongguan and forcing them to work in factories,” he said. “We are dealing with the illegal employment agencies and the labor dealers, according to the law.” In its report, Southern Metropolis Daily said some children had been threatened with death if they tried to escape from labor recruiters.

The newspaper did not identify the coastal factories where the children worked, but the report said that one was a toy factory in Dongguan, and that it had not been hard for the journalists to uncover the labor scandal.

“Since journalists could discover the facts by secret interviews in a few days,” Southern Metropolis Daily wrote in a separate editorial on Tuesday, “how could the labor departments show no interest in it and turn aside from it for such a long time?”

Chen Yang contributed research for this article.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/04/30/asia/01china.php?page=1

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I will survive

First I was afraid
I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
without you by my side
But I spent so many nights
thinking how you did me wrong
I grew strong
I learned how to carry on
and so you’re back
from outer space
I just walked in to find you here
with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed my stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I had known for just one second
you’d be back to bother me

Go on now go walk out the door
just turn around now
’cause you’re not welcome anymore
weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
you think I’d crumble
you think I’d lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
as long as i know how to love
I know I will stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love to give
and I’ll survive
I will survive

It took all the strength I had
not to fall apart
kept trying hard to mend
the pieces of my broken heart
and I spent oh so many nights
just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry
Now I hold my head up high
and you see me
somebody new
I’m not that chained up little person
still in love with you
and so you felt like dropping in
and just expect me to be free
now I’m saving all my loving
for someone who’s loving me

“THE DIRTY HANDS CARAVAN”


A MOVEMENT DESIGNED TO “INSPIRE INDIVIDUALS TO TAKE INDIVIDUAL ACTION”

Caravan of Activists to Travel from the Coachella Festival to
Jazz Fest from April 28-May 5th

Los Angeles, CA, April 23, 2008 – The morning after the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, CA, a string of bio-diesel buses transporting up to 300 people will caravan 1800 miles in an effort designed to engage a new generation of activists. The Dirty Hands Caravan is the coming together of individuals who will be encouraged to get involved by building houses for the homeless, protesting the War in Iraq while supporting the needs of veterans and their families, caring for the sick or needy, cleaning up parks or neighborhoods across America, taking part in clean water initiatives for foreign lands or engaging in whatever way they feel compelled to help others. The caravan, which is the brainchild of Sean Penn, will make stops in numerous cities until it arrives at its final destination, New Orleans, where the spirit of Coachella will join the close of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. On Sunday, May 4th, members of The Dirty Hands Caravan will descend on New Orleans to help better the Big Easy through their good works.

“I see this as a reckoning,” said Sean Penn, who is scheduled to appear at Coachella. “My generation and those that came before have to recognize the numbing of incentive that we’ve passed on to the change-hungry, imaginative, smarter than us youth of today. We’re providing the wheels, and they’re going to show us how to take the ride. I believe they are capable of engaging independently of their friends, their political party, or an established coalition. The Dirty Hands Caravan seeks to empower young people to stand up for what they believe in, with its longevity based on inspired individuality and pride.”

Participants in the caravan will have their food, water, transportation and campground accommodations paid for in exchange for their service. As the bio-diesel buses make their way across U.S. cities, members of the caravan will be offered opportunities to volunteer on behalf of established local organizations. However, members of the caravan are free to choose whatever cause or do whatever good they feel inspired to do, whether it is officially organized or not. The goal of The Dirty Hands Caravan is to get people engaged and active in their world. Good works will be done, but the caravan’s overall mission is to “encourage individuals to take individual actions.” To offer inspiration, the caravan will stop at campgrounds where individuals will have the chance to hear from musicians, activists, artists, filmmakers and guest speakers who will offer ideas on how to stand up for what you believe in and then effectively implement those ideas.

Those individuals seeking to join The Dirty Hands Caravan will need to fill out an application in advance. To fill out the application click on the register link below. The buses will depart the Coachella Festival parking lot at Noon on Monday, April 28th. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and should plan on being away from their homes and families for at least ten days. Buses will depart New Orleans for the Coachella grounds at Midnight, May 5th and will return to Los Angeles by May 7th. Up to 300 people may be traveling on The Dirty Hands Caravan bio-diesel buses, but organizers hope many more will follow by any means they can, and encourage their friends and family to join them in New Orleans.

“I invited Sean to speak at Coachella and he took it one step further and came back to me with this idea,” said Coachella’s Paul Tollett. “The entire Coachella team is excited to launch this journey at this year’s festival.”

http://www.thedirtyhandscaravan.com/

Pula

I had a a doubt about going to Dublin or London…finally I´ve choosen London..but I´m going there in October and will rest there one year, but first I´m going to Pula (you can see the picture). I´m a lucky person because I´ve a grant to work as a journalist in Pula (Istria, Croacy).I will be in Pula three months (19 May to 11 August). The three first week I will learn croatian (I have lesson 6 hours a day) and trips to know the region. After, I will work in a radio, because in Pula, the first tongue is the italian. I´m very very very happy. I will tell yuo all.

 

“Zombie”

Another head hangs lowly
Time is slowly taken
And the violence caused such silence
Who are we mistaken

May you see it’s not me,
It’s not my family
In your head, in your
Head they are fighting
With their tanks and their bombs
And their bombs and their guns
In your head,
In your head they are cryin’

Refrain:
In your head, in your head
Zombie, zombie, zombie eja eja
What’s in your head, in your head
Zombie, zombie, zombie, eja eja eja oh

Another mother’s breakin’
Heart is taking over
When the violence causes silence
We must be mistaken

It’s the same old theme since 1916
In your head,
In your head they’re still fightin’
With their tanks and their bombs
And their bombs and their guns
In your head
In your head they are dyin’

Refrain
oh oh oh oh oh oh ejo ahau

The Cramberries – “Zombie”

 

“Amber”

  Amber
 
 
  It never mattered that there was once a vast grieving:

trees on their hillsides, in their groves, weeping—
a plastic gold dropping

through seasons and centuries to the ground—
until now.

On this fine September afternoon from which you are absent
I am holding, as if my hand could store it,
an ornament of amber

you once gave me.

Reason says this:
The dead cannot see the living.
The living will never see the dead again.

The clear air we need to find each other in is
gone forever, yet

this resin once
collected seeds, leaves and even small feathers as it fell
and fell

which now in a sunny atmosphere seem as alive as
they ever were

as though the past could be present and memory itself
a Baltic honey—

a chafing at the edges of the seen, a showing off of just how much
can be kept safe

inside a flawed translucence.

Eavan Boland

London or Dublin?

This is my big question in this moment.

I´ve decided that in July I´m going abroad to learning english, and, more or less, I will work one year. That is clear, but I don´t know where go. I´ve searched information on internet and I thik that the best is, to start,  work in a hotel. It will better London or Dublin?.

Can your help me, please?,

Thank you