Feeds

Labour groups booted out of China's tech boom town

Workers' woe as Shenzhen NGOs trashed

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in China’s technology boom town of Shenzhen are up in arms after a sustained and co-ordinated campaign by local authorities forced more than ten to shutter their doors.

The Special Economic Zone of Shenzhen is home to one of China’s biggest technology manufacturing hubs, but workers’ rights are often forgotten and employment regulations violated in the rush to produce greater and greater quantities at lower cost, often for big name international tech brands.

As such, NGOs can provide a rare source of advice and support for the migrant workers who’ve flocked to the SEZ for employment, offering legal aid, safety training, psychological counselling and other social services.

However, it has emerged that several labour advocacy groups including Spring Breeze Labour Disputes Service Centre, Xiaoxiaocao Advisory Centre and Yuandian Worker Service Centre have been evicted or forced to move under threat of violence.

In one incident, a group of hammer-wielding people ransacked the premises of Xiaoxiaocao Workers' Home at the end of August, according to Radio Free Asia.

“There has been a sustained campaign of harassment of labour NGOs in Shenzhen this year,” China Labour Bulletin spokesman Geoff Crothall told The Reg.

“No one really knows for sure what is behind it but it is most likely an attempt to assert greater control over civil society organisations in the city. But if so they are certainly going about it in a very heavy-handed way.”

The issue has now been taken up by a group of university workers, lawyers and media organisations in China, who have written to the local authorities in Shenzhen and Guangdong province in support of the shuttered NGOs.

Even the usually partisan Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times reported the situation sympathetically.

Ironically enough, provincial authorities in Guangdong actually agreed in July to be the first in China to relax registration rules for NGOs which had been criticised as overly strict.

It’s quite possible that the Shenzhen government regards these advocacy groups as the source of, rather than a potential solution to the growing number of labour disputes across China in recent months.

In any case, with fresh allegations over labour rights violations in tech manufacturing plants emerging on an almost weekly basis, there is obviously a vital role played by NGOs in China. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.