Officials trying to identify enslaved disabled workers rescued from brick kiln
This 2009 photo shows a deserted brick kiln similar to the one where Chinese officials recently rescued illegally employed workers.
September 7th, 2011
01:36 PM ET

Officials trying to identify enslaved disabled workers rescued from brick kiln

Authorities in China are struggling to identify 30 people they rescued from illegal brick kilns where they were being enslaved and abused, state-run media reported Wednesday.

The officials are having a difficult time identifying some of the workers because at least 17 of them are disabled or have a mental illness, police told the state-run China Daily newspaper.

"Some of them can't even speak a whole sentence, and they don't act like normal people," Liu Weiming, deputy director of publicity in Zhumadian, where the workers were rescued, told the state-run paper. "Most are staying at a relief station because they can't remember where they are from."

The China Daily said that the scandal was exposed by the City Report TV channel who reported that workers were "abducted from streets and railway stations and then sold to bosses at brick kilns for 300 yuan to 500 yuan ($45 to $80)."

Bai Shasha, one of the rescued victims, said he and his father got lost in March and were abducted when several people with knives approached him. He said during the time he was enslaved at the kiln he was regularly beaten with bricks or whips, China Daily reported. Bai also said he and other workers were forced to work all day long without any rest, and then they all slept in cramped confines at night.

China Daily reported that Liu said two bosses and a supervisor were detained in relation to the case. One of the supervisors, age 14, is accused of beating workers with whips.

The incident is not the first in China. In 2007, 2009 and 2010 more than 1,500 people have been rescued from illegal brick kilns. An investigation in 2007 found that more than 53,000 workers at kilns were illegally employed, according to previous state-run media reports .

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Filed under: China • Crime
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    Well, this is really, really hideous.
    What is wrong with people that they could doing this kind of thing would be all right?

    Obviously, if this happens that often, surprise inspections of the brick kilns need to be implemented!
    Slavery, plain and simple!

    September 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Madeintheusa

      Funded with your MONEY...WELCOME TO MADE IN CHINA

      September 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    That they THINK...

    September 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    So does this mean we shouldn't be buying bricks from China? Were these for domestic use or export?

    September 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JT

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out.
    My words but a whisper - your deafness a shout.
    I may make you feel but I can't make you think.
    Your sperm's in the gutter - your love's in the sink.

    So you ride yourselves over the fields
    and you make all your animal deals
    and your wise men don't know how it feels
    to be thick as a brick.

    September 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • POD

      Always liked Jethro Tull......Thanks.......Aqualung

      September 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hjs3

    Sounds like a GOP inspired work force to me....

    September 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • genomega1

      Multi millionaire Nancy Pelosi is the biggest slaver, she had all of her employees exempted from minimum wage laws.

      September 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cynthia

    question, in communist china – isn't everything owned by the state?

    September 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • err

      China's been privatizing for decades now. However, corruption, brutality, and slave labor are endemic. The conditions many workers live in are abysmal.

      September 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • james

      It is now a capitalist country – the end result is the same – pure capitalism as well as communism puts the wealth and power in the hands of a few to the detriment of the many.

      September 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JR

    The Koch brothers must be drooling at the idea.

    September 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Spendlove

    In Communist China brick lays you!

    September 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lonely Guy

      If it's a good looking brick, I have no problem with that.

      September 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DWCarlon

    Chinese officials should take those people who were responsible for the slavery of these disabled folks... & publicly slaughter them.

    I know that sounds brutal... but for any human to enslave another... particularly someone who is disabled/young/cannot fend for themselves... the "enslaver(s)" should be brutally slaughtered publicly... to make a point to ALL people... that you cannot behave like animals & treat other human beings like they are dung on the bottom of a shoe.

    September 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • over it

      @ DWCarlton "government officials" are responsible

      September 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • err

      Do you realize that in China, that's very likely what will happen?

      Corruption is beyond widespread in China, but once the government decides that something has gone too far and actually takes action, penalties are far, far more severe than in the West. In particular, the death penalty is used for a much, much broader range of crimes than in the US (and in much of western Europe, there's not even such a thing as a life sentence).

      September 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©


    Nice nod to Jethro Tull.

    September 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • No JT

      Jethro Tull is and always will be terrible.

      September 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. HurdyGurday Man

    Now thats what I call a "guest worker program". Kind of makes the H1b pale in comparison.
    I wonder how long it will be before Bill gtaes goes nefroe congress and demands a program like this for himself ?

    September 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. slider

    Obama's reaction to this was....its Bush's fault.

    September 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hey Slider

      Real original.

      Now GFY

      September 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • why2

      dead horse, think of something new

      September 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      the Republican's will blame it on Obama, and if they can't figure out a way to do that they will blame it on terrorists

      September 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • You're an Idiot

      And the world's reaction to your comment is... "you're an idiot".

      September 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. POD

    Employee conditions like this could really add significant dollars to the bottom line......not to mention the booming effect it would have on stock prices and dividends......after all workers are expendable and if there is some 'collateral damage' in the interest of profit....well you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. Just don't be one of the 'eggs'

    September 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. VI resident

    And then China wonders why the wertern world shudders in revulsion at the thought the Chinese want to become a world power. Lead in childrens toys, poison in toothpaste, enslavement of workers; it's time for China to clean up it's act and start behaving like a nation that cares about it's citizens and the rest of the world.

    September 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • why2

      but now that China owns so much of our debt, we have lost the ability to take the morale high ground. Perhaps we need to stop buying everything made in China, not as a boycott from the gov't but as a matter of habit for US citizens. If we only buy things made locally or at least not made in countries where this type of thing happens, we would be putting pressure in the right place.

      September 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Snap


    September 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
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