Records of Labor Abuse in Taiwan-Invested Companies

China Labour Watch, 2001 [n.d.]

The following incidents provide a sample of work-related deaths and injuries at Taiwan-invested companies in Guangdong. Most of these factories are local partners with many American and Western multinational companies. A large portion of their products is exported to the United States.

June 23, 1992. In Shenzhen, Guangdong. Baixin Clothing forced workers to work overtime until late night. Fire broke out in storage on the first floor, which resulted in deaths of 16 workers and two severe injuries of those working on the second floor. The absence of firefighting equipment contributed to the accident.

October 4, 1993. In Fuzhou, Fujian. The owner of Yong Qi, a Taiwan-invested factory, on suspicion of theft, ordered the factory guards to put a female worker with two security dogs together on public display.

December 14, 1993. In Mawei Economic and Technology Special Zone. Taiwan-invested Gao Fu Textile Inc. made the worksite, storehouse, and dorm in the same building. A fire in the storehouse spread to the dorm, resulting in 60 deaths and 8 injuries.

June 11, 1994. In Heshan, Guangdong. The owner of Zhaozhao Shoe factory kept the dorm and the workshop in the same building. A fire in the workshop spread to the dorm, resulting in 10 deaths and 32 injuries.

New Year's Day, 1996. In Longhua Township of Bao'an, Shenzhen. Shen Li Decoration, Inc. used a temporary warehouse as dorm for workers. The absence of fire equipment aggravated a fire which led to 19 deaths and 37 injuries.

May 16, 1996. In Houjie Township of Dongguan, Guangdong. The Taiwan-invested Debao Handbag factory forced workers to work until early morning, while the overtime pay was meager. For example, in March, the total wages of knitting workers were RMB 145. After the management deducted RMB 40 of room and board, labor fee of RMB 30, only RMB 75 was left. The protest of several workers was met with physical abuses.

September 6, 1996. In Heshun Township of Nanhai, Guangdong. The Taiwan owner of Hong Bin shoe factory abused workers by physical and verbal assaults and wage deduction. The poor living conditions in the factory dorm resulted in a rampage of skin disease. In the morning, more than 20 workers were forced to escape from the factory.

July 21, 1997. Dalang Township of Dongguan, Guangdong. In Mei'erjin Wool Factory, Liu Huangqi, a 21-year worker from Hunan, was sick at work. He asked for sick leave several times but was rejected by the supervisor. He fell on the product line and was soon dead after being sent to hospital. In June and July, that the factory forced workers to work over 26 hours twice.

July 21, 1998. Shenzhen, Guangdong. Xiong Jingyun, a 23-year female worker at Qingfen Shoe Factory, was three times denied of sick leave. She fell on the floor and died on July 23. This factory forced workers to work 13 hours a day and 30 days a month. The accumulated working hours are more than 390 hours a month. Sometimes workers are forced to work around the clock.

October 15, 1998. In Qingxi Township of Dongguan, Guangdong. Taiwan-invested Zhan Yi Facory was called finger-cutter because of the high instances of bodily injuries. 26 of workers who lost their fingers as a result of working accidents were fired with no compensation. The accident was publicized as the fired workers protested by staying outside the factory. However, before the accident, there were dozens of other workers, who lost their fingers, left the factory with no compensation.

December 17, 1998. In Huangpu, Guangzhou. The owner of Taiwan-owned Xinchang Shoe company ordered the workers of the 8th work unit to stay after the forced morning exercises. The workers on the front rows were then beaten and verbally abused because the output of the unit were not up with the factory standards.

January 23, 1999. Shejie Township of Dongguan, Guangdong. Dongju Eletronics, a subsidiary of Taiwan Zhishen group, had an accidental fire. The fire from the basement warehouse spread to the third floor, where workers were forced to work 24 hours. The fire caused 12 female workers and two male workers to die and two to be severely injured.

November 12, 1999. Bao'an District of Shenzhen, Guangdong. A fire in the Zhimao Electronics resulted the deaths of 16 workers and injuries to 40 workers.

April 13, 2000. Huizhuo, Guangdong. Fu Zhenbao, a 28-year worker from He'nan, died in front of where he worked, Huizhou Huada Handbag Factory. The management paid no attention to his death. His corpse was left at the hospital for many days. The cause of death was a brain hemorrhage according to the hospital, probably resulting from long time overtime work, which happens very often at Huada factory.

The above cases are but a little few of thousands of labor abuses which happen daily in these factories. The official unions are not able to represent and work for workers' interests. Workers are reduced to machines and slaves!