CCTV carried a report about children working at a toy factory in Dongguan, Guangdong Province during summer vacation. Below is a translation of an excerpt of the report (translation by CDT). The full report (in Chinese) is here:
When reporters arrived at Houjie, Dongguan city, we encountered a group of workers who looked like students. To our surprise, as soon as we tried to talk to them, they immediately ran away. Through much difficulty, we found this group of skinny kids on the upper level of a workshop in a toy factory. They appeared to range in age from 11 or 12 to no older than 15. The one question they were most unwilling to answer was their age.
Reporter: “Hi, where are you from? How old are you?”
Child worker: “I am from Guangxi, I am 15.”
Reporter: “Which grade are you in?”
Child worker: “I am in the fifth grade.”
It’s hard to believe that a child who is less than 1.4-meters tall, and in the fifth grade is 15 years old. Like this girl, other children also had to think for a long time before answering the question. Some of them even gave various numbers:
Child worker: “I am 19.”
Reporter: “What sign were you born under?”
Child worker: “Probably the year of horse.”
Reporter: “Then when were you born?”
Child worker: “1985”
From the first day they worked in the factory, they were required that whenever someone asks their ages, they must say 16. There are 50-60 children working in this factory. Like the adults, they work more than 10 hours a day. We also noticed that the factory has a regulation forbidding employees to leave their post for more than 10 minutes at a time.