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Olympic mascot maker rejects sweatshop claims

(China Daily)

08:33, February 08, 2012

Blue toys in the shape of the mascots for the London 2012 Olympic Games await processing inside the Yancheng Rainbow Arts and Crafts Co Ltd in Dafeng, Jiangsu province, on Tuesday. (China Daily / Gao Erqiang)

Persons quoted by reports either left factory in 2008 or do not exist

YANCHENG, Jiangsu - Representatives of the Chinese manufacturer of Olympic mascot dolls on Tuesday said reports claiming its products were made in sweatshops had been based on untrue information and its factory is open to international organizations and the media for inspections.

Gu Feng, chairman of the board of Yancheng Rainbow Arts and Crafts Co Ltd, located in East China's Jiangsu province, made the comment at a news conference in response to previous reports by British newspaper The Sun.

On Jan 19 and Jan 23, the Sun published stories calling the factory a "sweatshop". The reports said that workers in the factory need to work 358 hours a month to make only 93 pounds, roughly 930 yuan ($147). "The Chinese workers quoted by The Sun as the factory's employees did not even exist," said Gu.

He said that Zhu Shengrong, who was interviewed by the US-based Voice of America (VOA) earlier, fabricated the story to tarnish the factory's reputation out of retribution for his dismissal.

In its report, VOA quoted Zhu as saying that he was forced to work about 14 hours a day without overtime pay.

"Zhu was fired by our factory in the first half of 2008 due to repeated inappropriate contact with some female colleagues," said Gu.

Zhu had demanded compensation for an industrial injury but was rejected by the local courts.

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