Mentally disabled people sold as `bonded labourers` in China

Chinese authorities have busted a racket where mentally disabled people were allegedly sold as bonded labourers to a "chemical factory" in the country`s south-western Sichuan province.

Beijing: Chinese authorities have busted
a racket where mentally disabled people were allegedly sold as
bonded labourers to a "chemical factory" in the country`s
south-western Sichuan province.

Zeng Lingquan, the owner of the shelter for the
mentally disabled in Sichuan, was detained for allegedly
selling people under his care to a "construction chemical
factory" to work as bonded labourers.

Zeng was suspected of selling mentally disabled people
staying at his shelter in Quxian county to a factory in Toksun
county of north-western China`s Xinjiang province where they
were "enslaved", the publicity department of the local
government said.

More than 10 workers were treated badly during the
past three to four years in the plant, including eight
mentally disabled people, officials told state-run Xinhua news
agency.

The factory in Toksun county had been shut down, Yang
Jin, ruling Communist Party secretary and deputy head of the
county, told the media.

Li Xinglin, owner of the factory, fled to the south
western Sichuan province on Sunday, taking about a dozen
mentally disabled workers with him.

"Once the workers are rescued, the local government
will order the company to give them compensation," Yang said.

Li`s wife is currently in police custody. The action
was initiated against the factory following reports in the
media.

The reports quoted Li as saying that his workers were
from Quxian county`s shelter for beggars in southwest China`s
Sichuan province.

The shelter, also called the disabled self-reliance
group, was an adoption agency for the physically and mentally
disabled, organised by local farmer Zeng.

Quxian county beggar shelter in Sichuan province had
never registered with the local authorities, Wang Yong,
director of Civil Affairs Bureau of Quxian county said.

This is an illegal profit-making organisation, which
is not a rescue station, nor a charity house, Zhang Tao,
director of Department of Civil Affairs in Sichuan province
said.

The treatment of the mentally ill people as reported
by local media has caused public outrage across the country,
Xinhua reported.

In 2007, 32 people were found to have been enslaved in
a brick kiln in Shanxi province from March to late May of that
year. One person died and 18 suffered injuries as a result.

PTI

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