100 officials rapped for role in kiln scandal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2007, 12:00am

Cadres reprimanded over child slavery


Nearly 100 low-level officials have been reprimanded for dereliction of duty over the Shanxi province scandal in which migrant workers and children were used as slave labour in illegal brick kilns.


After a month-long investigation into the scandal - which shocked the country because of the brutal working conditions and allegedly large number of children involved - the Shanxi government claims only six child workers had been found in five kilns during the crackdown.


This contradicts previous reports from Shanxi officials that 12 child workers had been discovered in the province.


'The illegal brick kiln scandal ... has violated the legal rights of some migrant workers and juveniles, damaged their health and created a negative impact internationally,' provincial discipline inspection commission deputy director Yang Senlin said yesterday.


Six officials were held responsible for the children's enslavement, Mr Yang said, without detailing what, if any, punishment was imposed.


The scandal was exposed after a group of 400 parents, looking for hundreds of missing children, published a public appeal. This prompted a police crackdown and the rescue of 591 abducted labourers, including at least 51 children according to some media, last month in Shanxi and Henan .


But the parents said they believed many children were still unaccounted for after being hidden or moved by kiln owners.


Speaking in the provincial capital, Taiyuan , Mr Yang denied there had been any collusion between government officials and kiln owners during the crackdown, which covered 11 cities in the province.


'The disciplinary inspection authorities place high importance on any possible collusion and corruption in relation to the illegal kilns, but, after a month's thorough investigation, we haven't found any such problems,' Mr Yang said at a press conference covered by some mainland internet news portals.


At the centre of the scandal was a kiln owned by the son of Wang Dongji, party secretary of Caocheng village who was later expelled from the party.


His son, Wang Bingbing , went on trial this month with four other defendants on charges of murder and illegal detention. A worker died at the kiln and several others were badly abused, according to mainland media reports.


Mr Yang said slave-labour brick factories were found in eight counties in Linfen and Yuncheng. Most of the 95 reprimanded officials were at the county and village levels.


Twenty-four officials were sacked and six others will face prosecution. Most of the officials were subject to party or administrative disciplinary punishment, while three were expelled from the party.


Six directors of government departments in Linfen and Yuncheng were given administrative demerits.


In Caocheng village, 10 officials were removed from their posts.


Retribution


Of the 95 officials reprimanded, 24 were sacked, 19 were demoted, and 15 were given demerits. They included:


Sun Yanlin , Hongtong county deputy party secretary. Sacked.


Wang Zhengjun , deputy head of Hongtong county. Warned.


Li Jinjiang , Hongtong Labour and Social Security Department deputy head. Sacked and given serious warning.


Li Qinglin , Hongtong Industry and Commerce Bureau deputy head. Sacked and given serious warning.


Li Genyun , Hongtong Land Resources Bureau deputy head. Demoted.


 

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