The rule of law has been slow to develop in China, and Communist Party apparatchiks can still do as they please. So it’s no surprise that the recent break up of a child labor ring by Internet activism is the talk of the mainland.
The case started in early May, when a Shanxi province television station aired a brief report about human trafficking. Hundreds of families with missing children soon petitioned local authorities to investigate. Most were turned away and left to conduct their own investigations. Then on June 7, 400 fathers posted the results of their personal inquiries in an open letter on a popular Chinese Internet forum. They described how their children had been abducted and sold into slavery to work in furnace-like brick kilns in Shanxi province.
The letter quickly spread to blogs all over China, igniting national outrage. The ring, as it turned out, wasn’t confined just to brick kilns in Shanxi — it bled over into neighboring Henan province, too. Local Party officials and police profited from the operations, some of which were built on Party land. [Full Text]