China promises to probe child labor charge

Updated: 2007-06-26 09:50

The government has promised to probe charges that its factories use children to produce merchandise for next year's Beijing Olympics.

The response came after the Playfair Alliance said in a report on Monday that children were involved in packaging licensed stationery products for the Games in the southern region.

Olympic products are a lucrative business for both licensed manufacturers and pirates. And some businesses may be using child labor to boost their profits. The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, or BOCOG, says this is unacceptable.

Jiang Xiaoyu, Exec. vice-president, BOCOG, said, "BOCOG will abide by the national law of China and the Olympic licensing agreement. We strictly adhere to the regulation on banning the use of child labor. We will deal with each and every case of labor abuse seriously found to be true."

BOCOG also warned it would cancel the contracts of companies using child labor and violating minimum-wage rules.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said China is looking into the allegations. Spokesman Qin Gang said BOCOG has "very strict" labor rights and social responsibility requirements regarding the manufacture of Olympic merchandise.

Qin Gang said, "Factories are requested to abide by Chinese labor laws and other relevant laws, as well as additional items in the contracts. If there were indeed violations of relevant employment regulations, BOCOG will deal with them seriously."

As the Beijing Olympics approaches, BOCOG may face even tougher situations. Pirated products are bad enough; using child labor is worse and will damage the reputation of the Olympic movement. BOCOG will have to handle the labor charges first and fast.

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