Punish slave owners

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-16 06:45

Righteous Chinese still felt a gnawing pain yesterday even when they were informed more forced laborers and children had been rescued by the hundreds in Henan and Shanxi provinces.

Under constant and mounting pressure from the media and the public, police in both regions launched a sweeping search and massive crackdown of thousands of brick kilns. They should do everything they can to end the nightmare of those who are still held captive.

The magnitude of cruelty the laborers suffered in the evil hands of kiln owners could make the blood of even the most indifferent people boil.

Perpetrators and officials held responsible should pay a much heavier price for their open defiance of law and social conscience.

As more details come to the light, it is not wild talk to speculate that dereliction of duty and even corruption by some local officials have held a candle to the dirty business, in which an unknown number of laborers, both adults and minors, have been abducted by human traffickers and enslaved by kiln owners.

Police found during the crackdown that the son of a village head in Shanxi was the owner of one of the offending kilns. This could be only the tip of the iceberg as official investigations into the whole picture are just unfolding.

Though the country does not lack sufficient laws and regulations to safeguard the rights and interests of laborers and underage people, still some money-driven people, like those kiln owners in the two provinces, constantly turned a blind eye.

Slack enforcement of laws and regulations, especially at the grassroots level, is to blame.

Apparently, there are more loopholes at the local level in law enforcement and supervision of the performance of officials. This was proven by a national survey conducted last year that found far more Chinese trust the central government than local governments.

Hence, for the dignity of the law, it is necessary that all people responsible for the tragedies be punished by the law, and they should be punished to such an extent that anyone who dares conduct similar evils should regret ever having harbored such wicked intentions.

(China Daily 06/16/2007 page4)

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