Child Labor In Wuhan, Chinese Argue Good or Bad

Two kids working in a factory.

In Wuhan, some black-hearted factory bosses use children as labor to squeeze extreme profits; some of these children toiling day and night for them, shedding countless tears of suffering and hardship.

Carrying the concerns of city residents, “Wang Haofeng Focus” [an independent reporter/photographer] from late September until early October, directed investigations across the Wuhan region focusing on the numerous innocent-faced workers laboring long hours in factories (they are distributed across clothing factories/printing factories/textile factories/zipper factories/etc). In order to speed up production, black-hearted bosses use them like ‘robots’, letting them rest only 6 hours per day, some only get off work at 4 in the morning; Because of serious lack of sleep, some had their fingers “bitten” by machines during production; those who made mistakes during production, are blamed and scolded by the boss; It’s 2 am in the morning, only to find these tired and beaten kids on the side of the road buying “shaobing” [a Chinese sesame bread] for a late-night snack.

Two child labors working.

A child toiling in a clothing factory said he was born in March 1995. The foreman said he just turned 15.

Asked if the kid made close to a thousand kuai a month, the foreman replied: “Not that much, just a bit”.

At a factory that makes mops, a child is ceaselessly putting rubber covering on the mop stick, he said he has been employed for 1 year already, came from Xishui in Hubei province, and has just turned 15 this year; every day, he has to cover over a thousand mop sticks. Annual salary is 5000 yuan.

Child labor working.

Surrounding residents passionately decried, this is clearly a threat to one’s life! There are even 12 and 13 year old among them, and who can save them? Every time there is an inspection, someone will warn the factory beforehand. After the inspection/noise is over, the problem immediately returns.

Everybody knows the country severely cracks down on the illegal act of employing of children for labor. Yet in only a few days, “Wang Haofeng Focus” already uncovered so many working “baby faces.” How many of these child labors are in the Wuhan region is still an unknown number. The hope remains within the related agencies to seriously face the party/the people/the nation in a responsible manner in the future, by investigating thoroughly, to return the kids the happiness of childhood. Return to society a sense of fairness and justice.

Child hanging up clothes.

Children working in a sweatshop.

Young boy hard at work.

Young boy sewing.

Boy working the machinery.

Boy hurt himself on the machine.
"Working long hours in the factory, sometimes workers will hurt their fingers on the machinery."

Young boy working hard.

Working late into the night.
Late in the night he is still hard at work. This is a printing factory. People in the factory revealed that he is 15, already been working for a year."

Child labors working

Child labor working.

Young boy working machinery.
"'Mechanic' is an innocent and tender face."
Young boy working the machinery.
"This little 'technician' is diagnosing a problem with the machine."
15 year old boy working in a factory.
"This 15 year old was only recruited recently. His is still lacking skill, and is often scolded by the boss."

Child working.

Boy working in a factory.

Young girls working in a clothing factory.

Boy applying covers to mop handles.
"Everyday he puts covers on over a thousand mop sticks. Annual salary is 5000 yuan. Born November 1993. He already been working for a year."

Boy working in a factory.

Comments on NetEase:

Everywhere is the same
not just Wuhan


How can it be like this? What have the Ministry of Labor been doing, why are they not taking care of it?

Sorrow, the whole society’s sorrow! Children are the hope of the future, yet they are wasting their youth there [in the factory]! Where the hell did the regulatory departments go?

These bosses, are they still fucking human?

I can’t finish reading this, I want to kill someone!

It is a little better these days. Many years ago, it was even younger, they would come when they were only 11 and 12-years-old .

The children’s parents also have responsibility. Having kids, and not raising them?!!
These kids are only around 10 years old, and already they let them go out to make money. These kind of parents must face the guilt in their conscience.

Only by learning a trade at a young age will they be competitive in the future. I support, I support.

We live in a shameless country.

So pitiful crying

What the fuck do you guys know. If they don’t work, then do you want then to go on the street and rob? Go steal and rob? They don’t want to go to school, that their own choice, what can you do? Don’t tell me it is the factory that forced them there? Break their legs if they run??? They are on the streets eating a late-night snack thank you very much, open your eyes, and use your brains.

They should be studying in school, isn’t tuition free now? Dammit, “ding” this up, send those bastards [factory bosses] to prison for a couple of years.

Factory bosses are black, the Ministry of Labor is even blacker.

This society still have lots of impoverished places, no choice but to go earn money at a young age. With regards to those black factories who can help regulate them! How long will these factories still exist in society!

Wuhan again! This kind of bosses should be shot on sight!

This is China. If these type of phenomenon did not exist, then it wouldn’t be China anymore.

The author wants relevant departments to inspect, and save the kids. But didn’t say whether regulation is enough. May I ask, after the kids are saved what will they do? They work because of one thing – poverty, after they leave where will they go? No outlet, no escape, they can only look for another place that hires children for labor, and if no one hires child labor, then what will they do? I thought for a while, probably only three options: 1. Repatriation; 2. Wandering around; 3. Starve to death. (First I want to say, I’m not a factory boss or worker) Please think of a solution to solve the fundamental problem, if they have other options, I reckon no family would let their kids leave home and suffer.

It is not only in Wuhan, my hometown of Hunan, my work place in Shenzhen, everywhere there is child labors, and still no one does anything about it.

China’s situation is that the poor are getting poorer, and the rich getting richer

What will regulation do? Unless there are no more poor people in China
Kids family is poor, if you regulate then there will be no place to work
Go home and go to school? There are still a lot of poor people in today’s China.

I think this is good. If these young kids don’t have work, they can only wander in society, to steal and to rob, kill and commit crimes. This would only be a life of regret. Earning some money can at least give them some hope, can help support the family, and they won’t be drifting on the streets, its not a bad thing. I came from the countrysides and am a migrant worker. All you white collars live a full life, don’t understand the sufferings of the poor. If you guys have the wherewithal/ability/heart, then go open a factory to give these kids better jobs. Too bad you guys don’t have that wherewithal/ability/heart, and only know how to complain here, the eventual outcome is these factories being closed down, these kids drift on the streets, and don’t have to work 15 hours a day, then you are content. They are now hungry, have no face to return home to their families, and you guys are now happy. They walk down the path of crime, then you’ll start blaming. These things are all the doing of you bored people, everyday talk about human rights, but actually forcing these kids into a dead end. Wake up people, do something practical.

Young boy buying food outside.
"2 in the morning, they leave the factory and have a late-night snack at a small roadside booth. Fellow co-workers introduce the middle kid as 14-years-old."

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Written by Joe

Joe is a documentary producer and journalist based in Shanghai


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