26 more on trial over slavery at brick kilns

Updated: 2007-07-12 10:47

Another 26 people went on trial Wednesday in north China's Shanxi Province in connection with a string of slave-labor scandals in brick kilns first exposed in early June.

The 26 defendants were tried in seven separate cases at four different courts in Yongji City, Ruicheng County, Linyi County and Xinjiang County - all administered by Shanxi's Yuncheng City.

They were all charged with forcing laborers to work for them in unspeakable conditions.

In one case at Yongji court, Yang Xiaohong and three other defendants were accused of intentionally injuring other people.

The results of the trials will be announced later.

Also yesterday, the Intermediate People's Court of Linfen City of Shanxi Province opened a second court session for five high-profile defendants including kiln boss Wang Bingbing, foreman Heng Tinghan and employees Zhao Yanbing, Heng Mingyang and Liu Dongsheng.

The men first went on trial on July 4.

The People's Procuratorate of Linfen City said Heng Tinghan, Zhao Yanbing and Liu Dongsheng had been charged with illegal detention and murder, while Heng Mingyang, son of Heng Tinghan, and Wang Bingbing face illegal detention charges.

The judges did not reach a verdict yesterday.

The use of forced laborers hit the headlines after more than 400 parents in central China's Henan Province posted a call-for-help letter on the internet last month, saying their missing children had been sold to small brick kilns in Shanxi and Henan as forced laborers.

By June 22, 359 people, including 12 children, had been rescued from illegal kilns in Shanxi and police had arrested 38 people.

Police in Henan rescued 217 people, including 29 children, and arrested 120.

On Tuesday, three managers of two illegal kilns went on trial in Xiangning and Xiangfen counties.

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours