Spiegel Online tells the story of laborers forced to work in the Shanxi brick kilns and of families still searching for loved ones who may have disappeared inside the kilns:
Chinese intellectuals like Hu Shuli, the editor in chief of the business magazine Caijing, are questioning whether the country — with its poorly paid labor market, exploitation of migrant workers, and even outright slavery — is denying many of its citizens “the right to freedom and dignity.” Has China after almost 58 years of communist rule completely lost its soul? “These incidents are truly ignominious for a civilized society,” says Jia Fenyong, a columnist for the state-run news agency Xinhua.
Those looking into the causes of the scandal have uncovered the unsavory shadow world existing alongside China’s remarkable economic rise in recent years. It is a realm of provincial cities hoping to join the country’s march of modernization and countless villages that have a few simple brick buildings, horrible roads, and inhabitants that can barely read and write. [Full text]
[Image: A group of freed slave workers outside a police station in the northern Chinese town of Linfen, by AFP via Spiegel Online]