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China jails 31 people over slave scandal

A policeman and a social security worker were among 31 people jailed for their roles in a Chinese slave scandal, state press reported Thursday, bringing the total number of convictions to 60.

China jails 31 people over slave scandal
A policeman and a social security worker were among 31 people jailed for their roles in a Chinese slave scandal, state press reported Thursday, bringing the total number of convictions to 60.

The pair and two other local government employees in northern China's Shanxi province were each sentenced on Wednesday to three years in prison for abuse of power and dereliction of duty, Xinhua news agency said.

The Shanxi High Court also sentenced 27 people, including the managers and foreman of the brickyards where hundreds of men and boys were enslaved, to between 18 months and five years in jail, according to Xinhua.

They were found guilty of using child labour and beating the workers, Xinhua said, citing a ruling by the court.

Last month 29 other people were convicted for similar offences, including one man who was sentenced to death after being portrayed in the government-run media as one of the main villains at a notorious brick kiln.

The scandal surfaced in June after about 400 distraught parents posted a plea on the Internet about their children who had been sold into slavery in Shanxi and neighbouring Henan province.

They made their case public after police and local authorities refused to help find their children. Authorities only took action after the Internet postings caused widespread anger among ordinary Chinese.

Officials say about 570 enslaved workers have since been rescued, but the true number of victims is widely believed to be far higher.

Parents initially said up to 1,000 youths had been working as slaves, but only 41 of those people officially rescued were children.

China also announced last month that 95 members of the ruling Communist Party had been punished, but most just escaped with warnings.

There have been no reports on any punishments being doled out in Henan province.

AFP
Last Mod: 02 Ağustos 2007, 17:22
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