Man gets death for slavery scandal

Updated: 2007-07-17 18:52

China sentenced a man to death and jailed another 28 people for up to life on Tuesday for their roles in a massive slavery and child labour scandal involving scorching brickworks.

Owners, managers and enforcers at the prison-like kilns, which state media said numbered in the hundreds in the northern province of Shanxi, were convicted of charges including forced labour, illegal detention and causing injury, an official said.

Zhao Yanbing received the death penalty from the Linfen Intermediate People's Court for inflicting a beating that led to the death of a worker at a kiln in Hongtong county, at the centre of the scandal.

Zhao beat the worker with a shovel for being slow and buried the body after he died the next day in his dormitory, the door and windows of which were locked to prevent workers fleeing.

Heng Tinghan, who ran the kiln where 31 workers -- including nine with mental illnesses -- laboured 14-16 hours a day for little or no pay, was jailed for life, said Liu Jimin, deputy head of the Shanxi provincial high court.

Chinese media said in June that hundreds of farmers, teenagers and some children had been forced or lured to work in kilns like the one Zhao helped run, enduring prison-like confinement and brutal beatings and kept at bay by fierce dogs.

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