Combing the Brickyards for the Disappeared – Andreas Lorenz

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:

0,1020,942763,00Chinese 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]


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