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China: 14 year-old boy working at Foshan Zhiya factory found dead, raises concerns on child labour once again

"[T]he not yet 15 years old Wang Pan went to work at Zhiya…[O]n the morning of April 11th, Wan Pan was discovered unconscious in a room he had rented, and was declared dead on the scene by a doctor…Wang Pan’s relatives have suspicions that his death was related to excessive overtime at the factory…Zhiya, has only been fined 10,000 Yuan, and has yet to be punished for anything else…"

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Alibaba and SGS to respond to the following items:

- "SGS and Alibaba Both Ought to be Held Responsible for the Death of a Child Laborer", China Labor Watch, 5 May 2015: http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/newscast/601
- "SGS与阿里巴巴都应为童工之死承担责任", China Labor Watch, 5 May 2016: http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/cn/newscast/601

Alibaba's response is below.  We will indicate on this page whether SGS also responds.

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All components of this story

Company response
6 June 2016

Alibaba response on child laborer's sudden death at Zhiya Undergarment factory in Foshan

Author: Alibaba

"Child labor, and labor abuse in any way, shape or form, is a serious legal and ethical violation which Alibaba Group does not condone. Alibaba enforces strict rules and policies and requires all third-party sellers to abide by applicable law on our marketplaces, including 1688.com. We are appalled and saddened by the alleged acts of the factory in question, which has been banned permanently from 1688.com. We will continue to work closely with international auditing bodies, relevant Chinese government and law enforcement authorities to curb and combat this grave societal problem.”

Article
4 May 2016

SGS and Alibaba Both Ought to be Held Responsible for the Death of a Child Laborer

Author: China Labor Watch

Recently, the Chinese media exposed an incident wherein a child laborer suddenly died on April 11th in Foshan, Guangdong. At the same time, the media has also put pressure on the Zhiya Undergarment Company for the moral and human rights questions in its employment of child labor. Upon conducting its own follow up and confirmation efforts, China Labor Watch also calls into question the veracity and social responsibility of the third party factory inspection carried out by the Alibaba operated SGS. Alibaba and its affiliate Alibaba Taofactory are one of the primary sources of orders for Zhiya. Alibaba and SGS’s factory inspection and examination are completely ineffective and surface level, paying little attention to the human rights situation and environment present at its suppliers, as well as lacking standards and norms.

…This sudden death of a child laborer has exposed Alibaba and Zhiya’s mechanism for checking standards is unsound, as well as serious problems with transparency in the supply chain. The Alibaba Group’s understanding of supply chain management and social responsibility clearly lag behind modern standards…The inspections carried out by SGS focus on product quality, ignoring the human rights conditions…

Read the full post here

Article
25 April 2016

Xinhua News Investigates the Death of a Child Laborer in Foshan: Can 150,000 Yuan Replace a Life?

Author: Xinhua (China) [translated by China Labor Watch]

…According to a report from the Nanhai District Human Resources and Social Protection Bureau, on March 5th of this year, the not yet 15 years old Wang Pan went to work at Zhiya through his mother, Kuang Liangqin’s connections…[O]n the morning of April 11th, Wan Pan was discovered unconscious in a room he had rented, and was declared dead on the scene by a doctor… Zhiya Underwear Company, Ltd [has agreed to]…give a one-time payment and burial subsidy to…Wang Pan’s Family…for the death of Wang Pan, totaling 150,000 Yuan in all…

Wang Pan’s relatives have suspicions that his death was related to excessive overtime at the factory. Many workers at Zhiya informed our reporters that usually the hours worked were from 8 am – 12 pm; then continuing from 1 pm until getting off work at 6 pm; at 6:30 pm, overtime starts, working until 9 or 10 pm. Every month workers only have two days off….Yet…the Nanhai District Human Resources and Social Protection Bureau [says] there had yet to be conclusive evidence that excessive overtime takes place at Zhiya…

 Zhiya, has only been fined 10,000 Yuan, and has yet to be punished for anything else…

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Article
24 April 2016

新华社追问佛山童工之死:15万能否换来一条命

Author: 欧甸丘、周颖、胡林果, 新华网

…据南海区人力资源和社会保障局的通报,今年3月5日,不满15岁的王攀由其母亲匡艮莲介绍进入至雅公司工作…4月11日...王攀被发现在其居住的出租屋内昏迷不醒,经医生到场后诊断认定处于死亡状态…王攀死亡后,至雅公司…向…王攀的家属…支付…一次性赔偿金及丧葬补助等其他赔偿金壹拾伍万元整…至雅公司主要负责人拒绝了记者采访…

王攀的家属曾怀疑王攀的死亡与工厂超长时间加班有关。至雅公司的多名员工告诉记者,一般工人每天的工作时间是:早上八点上班,中午十二点下班;下午一点半继续上班,下午六点下班;下午六点半开始加 班,一直到晚上九点多或十点多。一个月只有两天休息时间…但…南海区人力资源和社会保障局的调查结论…未有证据显示该公司存在超时加班问题。

招聘使用王攀的至雅公司所受到的处罚仅是罚款1万元,并未受到其他处罚…

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