• 2006-12-11

    sweatshops in China


    China is no stranger to the title of "the sweatshop of the world".

    The sequel to one of my favorite books,Oliver's story,employed this very "assumption" to jerk the story to its end.Kinda complicated,But here's my try: Oliver,the protagonist from the great Love story,decided to get on with life,move on and find himself another love.And find he did.He fell in love with this Marcie,who was the heiress to a department store empire.Everything went well until one day he discover the dirty secret of Marci,or rather,her business:She had been using sweatshops in Hongkong all along to supply her chains with cheap apparels.He found it hard to square this inhumane and unmoral practice with the woman  he held as the sacred goddess and thought he was deeply in love with.So he chose to bail out...  Truly great story,gotta read your guys.

     Anyway,today's topic is not about the best love-themed stories I've read.Rather,it'd be about something pretty heavy and well,romancidal(ok,ok,I coined it).It's about Sweatshops in China.

     I started to think about doing a post on this topic when I first read about the Apple investigation into Foxconn,who was accused of sweatshops abuses of its ipod assembly line workers.Foxconn,a Fortune 500 company,is notorious(at least in China) for its harsh and inhumane treatment of its employees,especially blue collar ones.Working overtime with pay is routine;Minimum as in minimum wages takes on the truest sense in Foxconn's Lexicon:less than $50 per worker on the ipod assembly line,all for working more than 15 hours a day.Overcrowding of dorm rooms is very severe.Working conditions are hellish:workers have to stand for up to 12 hours per day.(No lounge area or seats to ensure high efficiency,according to one Foxconn rule).The list goes on and on.Apple has clarified its stance on this issue,reiterating its zero tolerance policy toward any manufacturing practices that could be described as "Harsh".

      Foxconn is said to have taken some corrective measures.but as always,some point out,Foxconn would prove very Resilient on this.

     The saddest fact is Foxconn is just one such evildoer that happened to get targeted,there're thousands upon thousands of smaller-version Foxconns  out there inflicting pains on workers in the manufacturing sector in China.The situations in some of those other factories have been only worse,according to some people familiar with this problem.

    Chinese government at every level is basically turning a blind eye to this.What little efforts it makes to reverse the trend proves to be more swagger than substance.Things are getting worse and China is taking no heed,basking in the reflected glow of booming manufacturing industry.

    China is emerging,it's for sure.But it should be wise not to gain one thing at the expense of another.Or things could easily average out.Nobody would respect a country that build its wealth and power on the unmoral exploition and inhumane manupilation of 'little guys" and underdogs.A world power is one that impresses the world not just with the result of its efforts,but more importantly the means to achieve it.For that's why world power is worth our attention: it serves to inspire,inspire us to emulate,to transcend,to rise above....and we all want to replicate great and decent things,don't we?