Testimony of a Mongolian Singer (2015)
The Depreciation of the Chinese Yuan - 2014
Dawn of Asia Magazine
The Internatinalization of the Chinese Yuan (2012)
The Fallacy of the US Dollar (2011)
Faces Behind the Label (2010)
Stop The Buck - The RMB Should not Rise (2010)
The Speed Of Money (2009)
Marginalized Migrants in China (2008)
Minority Peoples Groups (2004)

 

Faces Behind the Label 
 
The faces of the migrant workers who are making our daily products such as furniture, clothing and other necessities are facing the biggest challenge of life today.  Suicidal attempts become them major issue of these young factory workers today.   These “Faces Behind the Label” are groups of people who we always forget and sometimes ignore.  Many of them are young people between the age of 16 to 30.  Their loss of hope, their perplexity about city life, their search for meaning of life has become their youthful plight.  Their broken dreams are buried inside the machinery of the factories.  Their daily hours are emerged into the endless assembly lines.  They stared daily at the clock but they cannot leave their post until the jobs are done.  Finally, they realized that they have become part of the machinery.
 
 
Suicides among Chinese factory workers more than doubled in the industrial south.  The number of workers’ suicides in the Pearl River Delta in southern China has risen to 30 this year from 13 of 2009, according to Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch.  This New York based group had interviewed 201 people in China for information about individual suicide incidents among local workers, he said.  Twelve employees, at the Shenzhen facilities of Hon Hai which is the world’s biggest OEM maker of electronics, attempted suicide by jumping off the roof top of the factories this year (as of May 7, 2010), prompting criticism from worker rights groups.  There were 10 deaths and 2 serious injury at this Hon Hai plant in Shenzhen.  Two employees had survived their suicide attempts but sustained severe injury.1   The chairman of Hon Hai Terry Gou said, “the manufacturer of Apple’s iPhone and Hewlett-Packard personal computers has confirmed that they are not a “sweatshop” and they are confident that the situation will improve.”  Hon Hai Precision Industry Company is based in Taiwan.  They employ 800,000 people in China.  420,000 are stationed in Shenzhen.  The company is also known as Foxconn Technology Group.  The workers and live inside the massive factory complex.  Foxconn makes computers, game consoles and mobile phones for companies such as Apple, Hewlett- Packard, Sony and Nokia.   After these suicidal incidents, Foxconn has been installing safety nets around almost all of the dormitories and factory buildings.  “Although this seems like a ‘dumb’ measure, at least it could save life just in case anyone else should fall”, said Terry Gou.2
 
Migrants are in danger of being marginalized in China’s endeavor for modernization and urbanization.  A recent survey found that 140 million Chinese citizens are working and living in places other than their hometowns.  This is more than one-tenth of China’s population.  It is estimated that the total mobile populations, of which farmers working in cities make up the vast majority, are between 200 million and 250 million now.  That is almost 20% of China’s population.  This mass of floating population in China is creating many social and psychological issues for which the government is ill-equipped to cope with at this moment.   The contingent of what so called the “floating population” is growing annually by between 6 and 8 million people.  These migrant workers are in danger of being culturally marginalized in the cities.  In cultural terms, migrant workers are living on a “lonely island” surrounded by an ocean of material prosperity in the cities.   Urban residents and migrants live in different worlds.  “Urban residents and migrant workers live segregated lives in general, and the formers are not much interested in the latter,” sociologists at Zhejiang University of Hangzhou said, “Less than a third of urban residents would communicate with migrant workers regularly, and more than half do not like topics about migrants workers in their daily conversation.”  
Some migrants who left their hometowns in search of money in this city have struggled to find relief from the pressure they face at work.  Some migrants, who tend to have little knowledge of their rights, choose to commit suicide when their wages are withheld, and most suicide victims are young people.3
 
 
In 1999, a toy manufacturer in Southern China had hired about 20 street kids to manufacture premium toys for McDonald’s and Burger King.  This factory had over 7,000 employees in its manufacturing plant.  The street kids were either orphans, runaways, or had somhow lost contact with their parents.  These underage street kids were supposed to be illegal workers under Chinese law where only age 16 or above could be legally employed.  Out of the good hearts of this toy manufacturer and their management, they found a boarding house for these street kids to live.  Since they did not want them to wander on the streets anymore, they put them to work on the toys…   One morning, a reporter from the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong exposed this incident about the hiring of these underage street kids.  Investigative reporters were all over the place, taking photographs and interviews.  At the same day, Simon Marketing announced any knowledge of this illegal employment of these underage kids in this particular toy factory.  Then then proceeded to end all contractual relationships with this factory.  The 7,000 – worker s factory was closed down suddenly in just about a week.  All the staff and workers were discharged and gone, leaving a large vacant factory building.  Today, the whereabouts of those street kids still remains a mystery.  The author believes that this toy manufacturer was not attempting to exploit the kids; they were trying to help out of a good heart.  But these kind of actions are usually misinterpreted by the press and Western media.  There is always a gray area in the rules where we can care for these “Faces Behind The Label.”  Many of them are still wandering on the streets of China today.
 
                                                                                                    Chief Editor: Chuck Chan
"Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings."
 
(Psalms 61:4) (NIV)