Two labor watchdog officers
in north China's Shanxi Province have been detained by police in connection with
the country's growing slave-worker scandal.
Hou Junyuan, head of an inspection team in Yongji City's Labor and Social
Security Bureau, was accused of dereliction of duty and detained yesterday
Another officer from the team, Shang Guangze, was arrested on charges of
abuse of power and fired from his job.
The two had transferred an underage laborer, who was from central China's
Henan Province and was being sent back home, to another kiln for new employment,
Police have arrested 168 people and are seeking more than 20 other suspects
involved in the forced-labor scandal.
By Sunday night, 45,000 officers had raided more than 8,000 kilns and small
coal mines in Shanxi and Henan provinces and freed 591 workers, including 51
Those charged with crimes are suspected not only of illegal employment
practices but also of abduction, limiting others' freedom, employing underage
workers and even murder.
Meanwhile, the government of Shanxi's Hongtong County, where one of the most
notorious kilns was located, has dispatched work teams to 12 provinces to
compensate victims who were compelled to work in captivity.
The central government plans to launch a nationwide survey of labor
conditions in small kilns and collieries, and those who illegally employ
children, force people to work or deliberately injure workers will be severely
punished, the State Council warned.