TAIYUAN, Shanxi -- A total of 359 people, including 12 children, have been
rescued from illegal brick kilns in north China's Shanxi Province, the joint
investigation group announced on Friday afternoon.
Police are checking up the ages of nine other people to make sure whether
they are child labors, said Sun Baoshu, vice minister of labor and social
security and concurrently head of the investigation group jointly dispatched by
the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Ministry of Public Security and
the All-China Federation of Trade Unions to probe into the forced labor scandal.
Employment of child labor aged below 16 is forbidden in China.
Among the 359 rescued workers, 174, including three children, were lured to
the kilns and 185 were forced labors.
Police have also found that 65 of the forced workers rescued are mentally
retarded, 15 of whom are to be identified and local government is trying to
contact with their families.
One mentally retarded worker, Liu Bao from northwest China's Gansu Province,
was beaten to death in a brick kiln in Caosheng village of Hongtong County in
November 2006. According to the other 31 workers rescued from the kiln, they
were confined there and forced to work for more than 15 hours a day without
Six suspects involved in the case, including the kiln boss Wang Bingbing and
foreman Heng Tinghan, had been arrested, and three others, including Yao
Haichao, a foreman who has allegedly enticed children to work in kilns, are
still at large. Police are hunting for them.