"It really bothers me when this government decides to buy Chinese steel because that steel is made in China with child labor.”

-Mark Glyptis

 

China is a nation that has one of the biggest economies in the world. Soon, according to many different sources, China's economy will eclipse America's economy. Currently considered as the world's largest exporter, it exported $1,200,000,000 worth of goods in 2009. It is a nation known for possessing a huge work force that work hard for less. The numerous workers that make up the workforce are responsible for such an outstanding productivity.


Part of this driving force that is pushing China to the peak of becoming the world's most powerful economic nation is children. Yet because of the clandestine nature of the political system, this harsh reality that exists within the communist nation is rarely publicized to the international community. Many children are working in China's exporting industry. They are working in industries such as: the fireworks industry; garments and textiles industry; and toy, sports equipment, and game industry.  In 1988 an article in the Jakarta Post reportedan estimate of 5 to 4 million children being exploited in the labor industry. Many of the child workers are usually children under the age of 16. For instance, according to the Department of Labor, children between the ages 10 and 16 are working 10-14 hour shifts a day. Much of the data, which serves as evidence of the child labor that is taking place in China, comes from the large economic zone of Shenzhen. According to the China Youth News, many foreign-own companies are located in Shenzhen, and they employ children who are, as mentioned before, underage. The following is an article that concerns Apple's use of child labor:

APPLE ADMITS USING CHILD LABOR: " 15-YEAR-OLDS WORK IN FACTORIES

 


In China, many child workers are working because their parents sent them to work. Because a portion of child workers originate from rural areas and poor families, they have no choice but to work. Education, as school fees continue to increase, becomes less of an option.  Children drop out of school and involve themselves in the labor industry.  Though they are paid little to nothing, the child workers continue to work in order to contribute to make financial contributions to the family.

There are many cases where the family are not aware of the hazardous situations that their children are placed in. This is due to the lack of emphasis on the issue of child labor and its dangers in society. The parents are not well informed, and when the child does goes out to work, they learn to not complain about their dangerous circumstances. The child sees their duty in contributing to their family finances to be more important. Before they forsake their 'duty' to their family, many choose the road of hazardous labor.

 

The fireworks industry and other industries, such as the garments and textile industry, are employing numerous children to fill the many spots that they have in their work force. There is an overwhelming demand for child labor than adult labor because children are considered as valuable laborers. They have small hands and also they have eyesight that is undamaged by labor.

The conditions that chinese children work under in labor sectors are hazardous because--comparing to the adult laborers--children are less aware of workplace dangers that they face. For example, in 1994, there was an explosion in a fireworks factory. One child was killed and 34 others were injured. Within the garemtns and textiles industry, a 14 year old girl was killed after her hair tangled into one of the machines. Those are just few examples of the many incidents that children fall victim while working in such dangerous settings. Some workers are poisioned by carbon monoxide smoke and other deadly gases.

Whether the chinese government is strictly enforcing their anti-child labor laws is unknown because of the level of repression that the chinese system has.

 

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