Monday, June 11, 2007

No China Diet: Olympic Dreams

One of the reasons I'm trying to raise awareness of some of the abuses within China (workers' rights, torture, executions, severe pollution) is because the upcoming Olympics (Beijing 2008) will bring more attention to China. As a result, China has launched an enormous PR campaign to convince the rest of the world that, say, the air quality isn't so bad....

But the air quality is horrendous in Beijing. Ask anyone who has ever visited. It's the world's most polluted capital. Now Beijing will shut down heavy polluters during games. How nice for the athletes. And how awful for the Chinese who live in the smog the rest of the year.

And were you thinking of buying Olympic goods? Because they may be made by children in China. Playfair, an alliance of trade unions, found that factories in China making Olympic goods paid half of the legal wage for adult labor, and often hired workers as young as 12. Other violations? Forced overtime, poor safety conditions, and workers being forced to lie to inspectors.

The BBC followed up the report by Playfair with their own inspections and found that Leikit, a factory that makes paper products with the Olympic logo, employs children and forces them to work 13 hours a day.