Posts tagged ‘Jiangsu’

27/05/2016

Foxconn replaces ‘60,000 factory workers with robots’ – BBC News

If manufacturers like Foxconn and high street companies like McDonald’s and, no doubt soon, offices too start replacing humans with robots, where will it all end? Where will all the ‘surplus’ people find jobs and pay.  And, eventually, who will be able to afford the iPhones, the hamburgers and so forth?  Won’t it be self-defeating in the long run for the employers with no customers or, at best, not enough customers to keep all the robots occupied and earning their keep.

“One factory has “reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots”, a government official told the South China Morning Post.

Xu Yulian, head of publicity for the Kunshan region, added: “More companies are likely to follow suit.”

China is investing heavily in a robot workforce.

In a statement to the BBC, Foxconn Technology Group confirmed that it was automating “many of the manufacturing tasks associated with our operations” but denied that it meant long-term job losses.

“We are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees, and through training, also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added elements in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control.

“We will continue to harness automation and manpower in our manufacturing operations, and we expect to maintain our significant workforce in China.”

Since September 2014, 505 factories across Dongguan, in the Guangdong province, have invested 4.2bn yuan (£430m) in robots, aiming to replace thousands of workers.

Kunshan, Jiangsu province, is a manufacturing hub for the electronics industry.

Economists have issued dire warnings about how automation will affect the job market, with one report, from consultants Deloitte in partnership with Oxford University, suggesting that 35% of jobs were at risk over the next 20 years.

Former McDonald’s chief executive Ed Rensi recently told the US’s Fox Business programme a minimum-wage increase to $15 an hour would make companies consider robot workers.

“It’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who is inefficient, making $15 an hour bagging French fries,” he said.”

Source: Foxconn replaces ‘60,000 factory workers with robots’ – BBC News

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07/04/2015

China corruption: Nanjing mayor jailed for 15 years – BBC News

The former mayor of the Chinese city of Nanjing, Ji Jianye, has been jailed for 15 years for corruption.

Ji Jianye in Nanjing, China (March 2013)

The court in Yantai found Ji guilty of accepting 11.3m yuan ($1.9m; £1.2m) in bribes between 1999 and 2013, when he was dismissed.

As mayor he was nicknamed “Bulldozer” for his heavy promotion of construction and redevelopment in Nanjing.

Ji is the latest high profile official to be jailed under President Xi Jinping‘s corruption crackdown.

The court said in a statement that it had been “lenient in meting out punishment, as Ji admitted his guilt and showed repentance”.

Ji assumed the powerful role of mayor of Nanjing in 2010. The city is the capital of Jiangsu province and home to about seven million people.

In January 2013 he was placed under investigation suspected of “severe violations of disciplines and laws”. He was arrested and expelled from the ruling Communist Party last year.

via China corruption: Nanjing mayor jailed for 15 years – BBC News.

12/12/2014

China opens key section of massive water project | Reuters

China on Friday opened a key section of a massive and ambitious plan to transport water from wetter central and southern parts of the country up to its arid north, including the capital Beijing, state media reported.

The $62 billion undertaking – dreamed up by former Communist Party leader Mao Zedong in the 1950s – is designed to supply China’s parched and pollution-ridden north, home to more than 300 million people and countless water-intensive businesses.

The latest section opened begins at Danjiangkou reservoir in central China’s Hubei province and runs for 1,432 km (890 miles), the official Xinhua news agency reported.

It can supply on average 9.5 billion cubic meters of water annually for about 100 million people in places like Beijing, Tianjin and the nearby provinces of Henan and Hebei, Xinhua said.

Some provinces in northern China have less freshwater per person than the desert countries of the Middle East. Of the country’s total, water-intensive industries such as clothing and electronics manufacturing consume a quarter – a share the think-tank 2030 Water Resources Group expects to grow to a third by 2030.

The first stage of China’s south-to-north transfer brought water to the industry-heavy northeast, but it was barely useable when it reached Tianjin because it picked up pollutants and sediment while flowing north through polluted soil.

That has raised concerns about the latest phase – a decade in the making – bringing water via a different, less polluted route.

Some experts have also voiced concern that the project’s extensive tapping of water from the Yangtze River and its tributaries may damage one of China’s most important water ways.

via China opens key section of massive water project | Reuters.

07/08/2014

After China Factory Explosion, Workers Petition for More Rights – China Real Time Report – WSJ

A deadly fire at a garment factory in New York City more than a century ago set the stage for widespread support a for labor movement in the U.S. that led to sweeping reforms of workplace-safety laws.

Now, some activists are hoping that a recent blast in eastern China that killed at least 75 workers and left 180 other injured can do the same here. Chinese labor-right activists are putting together a petition for the country’s legislators, which they say they hope might help to reshape the labor-rights landscape of the world’s largest manufacturing center.

The letter, circulating on Chinese social media, calls on unions to give workers the right to inspect work-safety conditions and to carry out collective bargaining with employers regarding labor-safety standards. It also calls for local governments to step up their supervision of work safety and for employers to respect workers’ rights.

The 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire, which claimed the lives of 146 mostly female immigrant garment workers in New York—a garment-manufacturing hub at the time— inspired the U.S. workers to defend their rights. After decades of suffering, Chinese workers’ rights are still neglected, said the letter, signed by 15 labor-rights institutions and nearly 1,600 workers as of Thursday morning.

“China does have work-safety laws, but local governments don’t implement them strictly so some companies don’t take the codes seriously,” Beijing-based labor-rights researcher Wang Jiangsong said.

Mr. Wang, a professor at the China Institute of Industrial Relations, has been promoting the petition on his personal Weibo account.

“Under the current system, workers have no means to voice their concerns. That’s the root problem.” Mr. Wang said by phone.

China’s unions are controlled by the government, and recent efforts by workers to establish independent worker unions have been foiled by local governments, workers and activists have said.

An official investigation showed the most recent incident, which happened at a company that supplies parts for cars from General Motors Co. and other auto makers in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, was caused by an excess of dust that exploded after exposure to a heat.

The town’s local fire department said there was a fire alert from the factory two months before the explosion, which they said the workers extinguished before the fire engine arrived, the Beijing News reported on Monday.

Xinhua News Agency on Monday cited China’s official work-safety agency as saying inadequate supervision by local authorities was partly responsible for the blast.

The local government in Suzhou, which governs Kunshan, has suspended operations at 214 factories to evaluate safety risks, Xinhua said on Wednesday.

The explosion in Kunshan, which caught nationwide attention, is the most deadly among a series of similar accidents in China in recent years.

In April, a blast also caused by excessive dusk levels in the neighboring city of Nantong, led to eight deaths. Two years ago, aluminum dust caused a blast at a factory in the export hub of Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province, claiming 13 workers’ lives and injuring 15, Xinhua reported.

“Excess levels of dusk is very common in Zhejiang, and it’s very dangerous for workers,” said Huang Caigen, founder of Zhejiang-based nonprofit Xiaoxiaoyu Labour Services, which provides work-safety training and legal assistance.

Mr. Huang said inspectors from local governments normally have close relationships with their town’s employers, meaning factories can often easily pass local work-safety inspections via their “public relations” efforts.

Although Mr. Huang admits that the most recent petition might bring about immediate change, he remains optimistic that persistence will eventually pay off.

“Maybe this time won’t result in anything, but if we keep on trying… I think we could make some difference.”

via After China Factory Explosion, Workers Petition for More Rights – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

07/08/2014

China suspends work at hundreds of factories after deadly blast | Reuters

China has suspended work at more than 200 factories in an eastern province for safety checks as part of a nationwide review following an explosion at an auto parts plant that killed 75 people, government officials and state media said.

Family members cry at a caring centre for relatives of victims of a factory explosion, in Kunshan, Jiangsu province August 3, 2014.REUTERS/Stringer

Officials have been ordered to shut all aluminium and magnesium factories – and others that generate metal dust – for safety violations, the Jiangsu provincial government said in a statement late on Wednesday. Some 214 factories in Suzhou and 54 factories in Kunshan have been shut and will not reopen until they obtain government approval.

It was not immediately clear how long that would take.

Provinces such as Shaanxi, Tianjin and Sichuan, as well as the Guangxi special administrative region, have also stepped up safety checks. The crackdown comes after a blast at Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Co Ltd on Saturday, China’s worst industrial accident in a year.

State media has reported that investigators’ preliminary findings show that Kunshan Zhongrong bears the main responsibility for the blast in Jiangsu, which also injured 185 people when a flame was lit in a dust-filled room.

An hour’s drive from Shanghai, Kunshan Zhongrong polishes wheel hubs for automakers including General Motors Co.

“The suspended factories were found to suffer the same safety risk of dust pollution,” the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday, citing the government in Suzhou, which includes the satellite city Kunshan.

Xinhua did not give further details on the factories or what they produced. Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces are known for their alloy wheel makers, with Jiangsu home to four of China’s top 10 exporters, according to the Automobile Association.

Many alloy wheel makers in Jiangsu have poor safety practices, the official China Securities Journal said.

Earlier this week, President Xi Jinping demanded a full inquiry into what happened at Kunshan Zhongrong and that those responsible be punished. China’s State Council Work Safety Commission ordered nationwide inspections and a safety campaign targeting factories that process aluminium, magnesium, coal, wood, paper, tobacco, cotton and plastic, Xinhua said.

Xinhua also said authorities would draw up comprehensive regulations for dust control at factories.

Police took at least two Kunshan Zhongrong representatives into custody earlier this week, Xinhua reported.

via China suspends work at hundreds of factories after deadly blast | Reuters.

20/07/2014

Seven People Attempt Suicide Protesting Illegal Land Seizures – Businessweek

On Wednesday morning at about 8:10 a.m., seven people who had traveled together to Beijing from southeastern Jiangsu province met outside the offices of the China Youth Daily newspaper. They carried with them black bottles containing pesticides, which they opened and quickly drank.

Seven People Attempt Suicide Protest in Beijing Over Illegal Land Seizures

In rural China, consuming pesticides is one of the most common methods of suicide; the seven chose this as an act of desperate protest. Petition papers that lay askew, near where the five men and two women fell unconscious on the pavement, indicate that the group had come to Beijing to petition national authorities to intervene over land seizures and forced demolitions in their hometown.

Photos of the seven lying on the ground, all wearing white t-shirts, were distributed widely over Chinese social media. Soon police and ambulances arrived, and the victims were taken to local hospitals. According to China newspaper reports, they remained alive and in stable condition as of Thursday evening.

via Seven People Attempt Suicide Protesting Illegal Land Seizures – Businessweek.

21/02/2014

Behind China’s Labor Unrest: Factory Workers and Taxi Drivers – Businessweek

On top of the other article about pessimistic Chinese economists, this is worrying. See https://chindia-alert.org/2014/02/21/even-chinas-economists-are-singing-the-blues-china-real-time-report-wsj/

“What’s the state of dissent among China’s hundreds of millions of workers? They are increasingly aware of and demanding their rights, according to a new report by the China Labor Bulletin.

Workers sew blue jeans in a Chinese textile factory in 2012

There were 1,171 strikes and protests in China recorded by the Hong Kong-based labor advocacy group from June 2011 until the end of last year. Of those, 40 percent occurred among factory workers, as China’s exports suffered a slowdown and its overall economy cooled. “Many manufacturers in China sought to offset their reduced profits by cheating workers out of overtime and cutting back on bonuses and benefits, etc. These cost-cutting tactics proved to be a regular source of conflict with the workforce,” notes the report, “Searching for the Union: The workers’ movement in China 2011-13″ (pdf), which was published on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the report cites a large number of worker protests “caused by the downsizing, closure, relocation, sale or merger of businesses” spurred by the government’s declared policy of tenglong huanniao, or “changing the birds in the cage.” That’s when Beijing has encouraged the closure of factories engaged in lower-tech businesses, including shoes, textiles, and toys. All together, 57 percent of factory worker protests took place in Guangdong, home to the Pearl River Delta manufacturing region, followed by 9 percent in Jiangsu, home to many export factories in the Yangtze River Delta.”

via Behind China’s Labor Unrest: Factory Workers and Taxi Drivers – Businessweek.

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13/12/2013

Nanjing Massacre memorials to be held |Society |chinadaily.com.cn

A man is pictured in front of a wall at the memorial hall of the victims in Nanjing massacre by Japanese invaders in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Dec 12, 2013. Nanjing Massacre memorials to be held

NANJING – A series of memorials will be held on Thursday and Friday in the city of Nanjing to mark the 76th anniversary of a massacre that claimed the lives of 300,000 Chinese civilians and disarmed soldiers.

Nanjing witnessed mass murder, genocide and war rape following the Japanese capture of the city in December 13, 1937, during World War II.

Memorial events will include a candlelight vigil, a prayer assembly for peace, as well as press conferences and seminars, according to Zhu Chengshan, curator of the Nanjing Massacre Hall.

As part of this year\’s event, a report on protection of survivors\’ oral histories of the atrocity will be presented and a Sino-U.S. collaborative project on oral history studies will be announced, Zhu announced.

\”This is about expressing sorrow for those perished, and more importantly reminding people to remember history and to cherish peace,\” he said.

Meanwhile, two survivors, 82-year-old Wang Jin and 89-year-old Cen Honggui, will leave for Japan to attend Nanjing Massacre testimony gatherings on invitation from Japanese non-governmental organizations.

Held every year since August, 1994, this activity has seen a total of 47 Chine

via Nanjing Massacre memorials to be held |Society |chinadaily.com.cn.

08/05/2013

* Detention of petitioners denounced

China Daily: “Anti-graft officials vow protection of whistle-blowers from retaliation

Officials with China’s top anti-graft authority expressed firm opposition on Tuesday to the detention of petitioners.

Authorities are not allowed to detain petitioners at any level of petition offices and at public venues, said Zhang Shaolong, deputy director of the office of letters and calls of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China.

It is a legal channel for petitioners to submit whistle-blowing materials face to face to the anti-graft authorities, and the petitioners should receive a warm welcome from anti-corruption agencies, he said.

Zhang made the remarks on Tuesday during an online interview with two other anti-graft officials from the commission.

Under the administrative mechanism in most places, the leading officials will not get promoted if too many petitioners appeal to higher authorities.

Many corrupt officials were exposed by online posts, Zhang said, adding that some inaccurate online information has also made the investigations of corrupt officials difficult.

Among all the cases investigated by the commission last year, about 41.8 percent of the clues were collected from the public whistle-blowers through online reports, letters and calls, Zhang said.

Guo Hongliang, Zhang’s colleague who also attended the online interview, said that the commission has received 301,000 online whistle-blowing reports from 2008 to 2012.

The commission established 12388.gov.cn, its online whistle-blowing website, in October 2009, and the Internet has become one of the most important channels for the commission to collect information, he said.

Deng Jixun, another colleague of Zhang who attended the interview, said that real-name whistle-blowing activities should be encouraged to promote the efficiency of anti-corruption work.

The anti-graft authorities should protect real-name whistle-blowers from being victims of retaliation, he said.

Zhang acknowledged that some officials try to prevent people from petitioning to higher levels of government, and these officials’ behavior should be firmly opposed.

A report in People’s Daily revealed that many petitioners had been detained by the government of Hai’an county in Jiangsu province since March when they tried to visit the anti-graft officials from an inspection team sent by the provincial government.”

via Detention of petitioners denounced |Politics |chinadaily.com.cn.

02/02/2013

* China’s Environmental Protection Racket

WSJ: “Beijing’s choke-inducing air – which blanketed the city for nearly a week before being cleared away by a bout of sorely-needed wind on Friday — prompted Premier Wen Jiabao to call for action to protect the environment and public health.

If the premier and his colleagues can see through the smog on the policy front, they might consider something that has been all but overshadowed by the capital’s plight: the sorry track record of the environmental watchdog in little Nantong in east China’s Jiangsu province.

The problems in Nantong are a tale of environmental protection gone seriously wrong in a country where money clearly talks. They may also be small but critical components of an increasingly toxic environment.

According to a series of newspaper reports, online versions of which appear to have vanished into the country’s not-so-thin air, more than 30 environmental and other officials from the Nantong area were implicated in a scandal that involves bribery and turning a blind eye to pollution problems. Thanks to the reporting of the Shanghai-based China Business News (in Chinese here and here), it’s now fairly clear that Nantong environmental officials were running something closer to an environmental protection racket.

The newspaper, which had been following the story since the summer of last year, reported earlier this month that the scandal had reached the highest level of the local environmental protection bureau. Contacted by the Wall Street Journal, an official with the Nantong Environmental Protection Bureau was unable to elaborate beyond the official posting on the Nantong discipline inspection committee’s website, which stated that former bureau director Lu Boxin was found guilty of accepting bribes and sentenced to 12 years in prison (in Chinese).

This brief report, posted under the banner headline of “Study the Spirit of the 18th Communist Party Congress, Promote and Deepen the Anti-corruption Campaign and the Building of Clean Government,” said that the bribes were taken on more than one occasion.”

via China’s Environmental Protection Racket – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/economic-factors/greening-of-china/

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