Sweatshops

China's migrant women

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Breakneck industrial expansion has transformed women's lives in China over the last generation. They live very different lives to their mothers and grandmothers but face enormous hardship in China's huge factories

If you are reading this article online the chances are that some part of the technology you are using will have been produced at one of the Foxconn factories in China.

This company made the international news last year due to a number of suicides among its workers. One of the largest Foxconn factories is in the city of Shenzhen in South East China. Between 300,000 and 450,000 workers are employed in this massive industrial park - a walled campus within Shenzhen dubbed "Foxconn city".

Letter from China

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After the recent suicides of ten Foxconn workers, Li Qiang reports on conditions at the iPhone sweatshop.

Yet another Foxconn worker jumped to his death in June, bringing the total number of suicides at the company this year to ten. In the light of these events, some have denounced Foxconn, makers of Apple's iPad and iPhone, as a "sweatshop". Others argue that, compared to similar manufacturers, Foxconn can boast relatively humane management and fairly good benefits.

No child's play - workers and the deadly toys

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Just as people are getting ready for Christmas shopping, tens of millions of toys have been found to pose a health hazard - not only to children in the West, but also to those producing them in China.

US toy maker Mattel - the largest toy company in the world - recalled 172,000 Fisher Price toys in November after several children choked on small detachable parts. The company has also, for the fourth time, recalled large quantities of toys due to high levels of lead in their paint. Mattel had already recalled nearly 20 million toys, and in September it withdrew 844,000 toys from its Barbie brand.

Mattel's toys are manufactured by companies such as the Chinese Sunyick Plastic Products company, which employs 5,000 people.

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