Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chinese factories still allowed to employed mentally disabled workers

From People's Daily Online:

Two charcoal brick factories in Jinan, capital of Shandong Province, have been given permission to continue hiring mentally disabled people as laborers, reported Dec. 26.

Labor officials in Shandong Province said companies are encouraged to hire mentally disabled people as long as they treat them well.

The treatment in the factories is in sharp contrast to conditions of another group of mentally disabled people who were reported earlier this month as being abused and enslaved in a stone quarry in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Labor inspectors checked the charcoal factories in Licheng District of Jinan on December 24 and found eight mentally disabled people working there.

A witness has reported that the people are well treated by the factory management. Their wages are paid to the families of some, while those without families are given food and daily necessities .

One man who is working at the factory told the website that the food in the factory was fairly good and the dormitories were warm.

A factory manager, who was not identified, said some of the mentally retarded people were brought there by concerned citizens who had found them homeless, or by family or friends.

"We won't force any mentally disabled person to work. If they want to go, we won't restrict their freedom. We will look after them as long as they work here," the boss said.

An official at the Shandong Province Disabled Persons' Federation said mentally disabled people, whose working skills can be improved if they received proper training, needed more opportunities to find employment.