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. wzrd2

    Um. the average chinese factory worker salary is about $160 a month. For all intents and purposes, China does use slave labor to make cheap, second rate products. China may produce 53% of there own energy(mostly coal), but 656,000 Chinese citizens die each year from air pollution compared to 41,000 in the US. China is destroying the planet economically and environmentally. so please save you propaganda for people that dont know any better.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. asdf

    Wow and this is what Republicans want our middle class to compete with slave labor? Why don't we just get rid of child labor laws while we are at it.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Masintenn

      What a stupid comment! There's nothing political about this article, yet you use it to attack Republicans.

      And I bet Joe Biden understands this........

      September 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • devi

      Actually in several states Republicans are attempting to get rid of child labor laws.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • kurgen99

      Child labor laws are job killing useless REGULATIONS that need to be abolished.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      asdf: To be perfectly frank, your government doesn't care whether you can compete or not. With our corporations doing business overseas, they still make the buck for Uuncle Sam no matter where they do business. So, technically, they don't need you at all. Why do you think we have so many illegals here? Do you think we're just being "nice"? Or, that it's an "accident"? If we were nice, we'd be fighting in Somalia so the starving can get their famine relief. No...the illegals are the new African slave. We take care of the US fat cat. And, the fat cat is happy as long as he's fat. He doesn't care how he gets his fat, either. This is a really negative spew. I realize that. As a 56 yr. old woman who was born and raised here, I'm sorry I feel so negative. I didn't always. But, it's like "Ochim's Razor". The simplest explanation is usually the right one. In this case, all the unreasonable things our government has done speaks to ONE thing. The overwhelming greed of the powerful in the good ol' USA. They don't care about the teaming masses struggling to feed their kids. They live behind security fences with bodyguards and their children already have college educations, healthcare, jobs, and trust funds waiting for them. Which one will you vote for? Doesn matter, ultimately, does it?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Robert

    How is the American worker supposed to compete with slavery?!

    September 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Walmart Shopper

    every piece of merchandise at walmart contains a piece of the soul of the slave worker who made it

    September 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikp

      And your user name is walmart shopper...

      September 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Quincey9

      And that's why I give each piece of my WalMart clothing an endearing Chinese name.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. joe

    china...sells so many cheap things....because they do @$@# t o disabled people all day long......

    September 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Joe, China sells the US....We should not have trade agreements with a country that refuses to acknowledge human rights and abuses it's populace. But we do. Another gift from our government. We have enabled China and then we get cover stories on Time and Economy about the new super power. We sat back and enabled the dogs while they climbed over the backs of their own weak and weary, polluted their environment, and massacred dissidents (Tianameng square) while jailing writers and activists. Oh, but they do have panda bears. We do love the pandas!

      September 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Recollections of World Powers and slavery

    1.) The world's first "super power" was ancient Babylon. 2.) Babylons's army was exclusively made-up of enslaved Africans. 3.) Babylonians worshipped Molech, the god of war. 4.) Banylonian citizens, who neither themselves nor their children served in the military as 'troops', would offer-up their own children to this 'god of war' 5.) 'Holy men' built a giant golden Cow with a big pan of boiling oil in it's lap to symbolize the 'god of war' 6.) Parents would give their child to War through a 'holy man' who would then have the child thrown into the pan of boiling oil. 6.) Without slavery, none of this could have occured.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Karen

    We're all slaves except for the very rich, corporation heads, and high government officials....the "upper crust", as it's known, is very much alive. The rest of us work and pay taxes under threat of jail and then watch as the money goes to pay military contracts given to cronies, bail out corrupt bankers by the thousands, and finance foreign wars. Oh, and not helpful wars....we didn't set foot in Darfur while people were being slaughtered. Somalia's famine and internal conflict? H, no....they don't have anything we want...... The middle class is disappearing with more and more of it's margin sliding into poverty. This wonderful "powerful", "developed" country of ours puts many children to bed without healthcare, education, or dinner. Our government is a travesty. And you and I are it's slaves.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikp

      Yeah....we're all slaves the oxygen too...and gravity.

      September 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fiver40

      Karen writes the best summation I've ever read about the current state of affairs. What a powerful paragraph. Talk about hitting the nail on the head!

      September 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Roscoe Chait

    Wow! So much hatred and contempt for your fellow human beings. Do you feel better now that you've let some of that venom out? Guess not. Time to up your meds, freak.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Recollections of how America reacts to China's supposed slavery

    1.) Shop at Wal-Mart even more.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ringo

    Meet your master American suckers!

    September 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MitchM

    It's China, their families won't want them back

    September 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • f

      I don't think anybody in the USA wants their homeless mentally deficient family members back either. That's why they are homeless.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • vidkid

      Their families were the gangs with the knives that sold them for $80!

      September 7, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Danny Mckenzie

    Everything made in China twenty years ago was cheap but now they have developed technology and skills that dwarf American productivity in almost every way.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikp

      Not in "every" way. We still produce way more fat people.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon

      Yeah, more fat people who have their lunch and dinners at Chinese Buffet restaurants.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • maw2304

      Yeah?? Except for the toys with lead in them, etc.!!

      September 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joseph

    Boy, you are the dog poop.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. shaun

    You got to love the Chinese!

    September 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. shaun

    Keep on buying their crap!

    September 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
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