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Child labor claim at electronics plant probed

By Yang Jian (Shanghai Daily)

09:47, February 13, 2012

A SUZHOU electronics factory is under investigation after it was accused of using child labor, with the youngest just nine years old.

The local labor supervision authority took action after claims that the Suzhou Nuosida Electronic Technology Co in Shanghai's neighboring Jiangsu Province forced children to work 12 hours a day for just several hundred yuan per month, the Jiangsu-based Modern Express newspaper reported yesterday.

A video posted on the Internet showed many children working on production lines.

"Some adult foremen brought the children there and the company paid the money to the adults," the witness who posted the video told the newspaper.

A security guard at a nearby company said he saw many "short workers" - about 1.5 meters tall - going in and out of the factory, the report said.

Another security guard working near the company's dormitory told the newspaper that boys and girls lived there.

"They get up at 6am, go to the factory together, and return at midnight," the guard said.

The guard said their living standards seemed poor because they were usually seen eating instant noodles in a nearby public kitchen.

A Nuosida staff member said yesterday that all senior officials were unavailable.

Six company guards stood in front of the dormitory, preventing people from entering.

A Suzhou labor agency that finds workers for the company told Shanghai Daily yesterday that it had never recruited child labor for the company.

An insider working at another labor agency said some foremen brought children from their hometowns in remote parts of the country to factories to work.

"The foremen send some money back to the children's families every month, so that the parents will allow their children to continue working," the insider told the newspaper.

Labor monitoring officers in Wuzhong District, where Nuosida is located, have begun an investigation into the company, the watchdog told the newspaper yesterday.

"The company will face severe punishment if the accusations prove true," an officer said.

Under Chinese law, employers cannot recruit workers younger than 16. Those found to be breaking the law face fines of 5,000 (US$793) to 10,000 yuan per month per child and having their licenses suspended.

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