On April 23 Guangdong’s media reported that at 10pm, Xiao Pan returned to his rental apartment to sleep as per usual. However, he never woke up. Xiao Pan’s mother questioned why he suddenly passed away.
She said: Two months ago, her son arrived with her from their home in Hunan to Guangdong Foshan, to work at Zhi Ya Undergarment Limited Corporation, intending to earn more money to support the family. Xiao Pan mainly worked in undergarment processing. Even though the work load was not heavy, the working hours were long, around 11 to 12 hours every day.
She says that, every day she has to call several times for her son to wake up. After work, Xiao Pan returns to the apartment to play games on the computer, and does not go outside. The family suspects that Xiao Pan’s death was caused by overworking.
A Chinese journalist discovered that workers at Zhi Ya Undergarment Corporation worked more than 10 hours every day. Working overtime, was of course, very common.
Factory workers say that they work over 10 hours every day, and before, they employed many child workers. It was only after the sudden death of a child worker a few days ago, that all child workers were dismissed.
Although it is illegal to use child labor in China, many companies still recruit many child workers. Unlike regular workers, child workers cannot participate in social insurance and do not have social guarantees. If a child worker encounters any injuries or incidents, the outcome is very tragic.
Currently, Xiao Pan’s family have already reported the incident to the police. The public security agency have stated that they are still investigating.
In reality, many areas in China are still using child labor. In early 2007, the Chinese media reported a shocking event, “Incidents at the Shanxi coal mines”. Over 100 children were stuck in coal mines, doing hard labor. Among them, many “attempted to escape but were then injured”, “were burnt with hot coal”. They worked over 14 hours every day, had little to eat and were kicked and beaten with sticks. Some children were hit severely, however were not allowed medical treatment, and were buried alive when they were dying.
In March 2010, Hong Kong media reported that “Foremen” from Guangdong who were tempted by high salaries, went to poor rural households to deceive children. In groups, the children were sent to Guangdong’s Dongguan, Shenzhen, Huizhou, Guangzhou, and Jiangmen to work in sweatshops.
The report states that the “Foremen” knew that recruiting child workers was illegal, however they always altered the age of these workers to 18 years old.
According to statistics from UNICEF, China has around 14 million child workers who have been exploited.