China: Report from Hong Kong on sweatshop

After long effort, the Hong Kong-based student organization SACOM (Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior 大学师生监察无良企业行动) published a report on Dell Computer and its suppliers’ misconducts related to labor rights on mainland China. After searching through data, interviewing workers in person and referring to materials, SACOM decries Dell and its suppliers’ partial failure to implement the Chinese Labor Law, and gives an insight into the sweatshop on Dongguang (东莞),Guangdong province in the report Dell—The Manufacturing of Sweatshop Computers Behind the Zero-Inventory Strategy . The report, fully cited in and then circulated in several main domestic websites, received netizens’ concern.

The report discusses the working condition of several first-tier and second-tier suppliers of Dell, and identifies the problems troubling workers are illegal wage and working hours, employment without labor contract, inhuman management practices, and use of child labor in peak production period. The sub-contract suppliers of Dell, due to the intense competition, have to exploit workers to gain profit margin. The zero-inventory strategy and stunning profit of the trans-national enterprise, accordingly, are founded considerably on the toil of Chinese workers. SACOM appeals to Dell to take its duty and assist its business partners to guarantee the labor rights.

The replies on Skyline (天涯), a popular net forum that has cited the report showed people’s concern.

Soul of Money said

“血汗工厂” 这就是中国腾飞的秘密

Sweatshop is the secret of the prosperous China.

Alex0755 moaned:


The grass-root have to survive so that people would endlessly go to the sweatshops.

Most netizens’ showed appreciation to the Hong Kong students.

Farmer With No Land (失地农民) said:


Thank you, Hong Kong students!

More people compared them to the domestic college students:

Who_knows said:


China would have hope only when domestic colleges could have such reports.

No_Eating_Pork said:


What a pity that it is not by out mainland students.

苏州过后没艇搭 said


Acclaim for Hong Kong students, mourn for the silent lambs on mainland.

Learning_To_Host said


The sweatshops on mainland need Hong Kong students’ battle cry. After 89, mainland China has no colleges.

But there are also disapproval ideas against Hong Kong:

zztao2008 said


The Hong Kong students eat the good enjoy the good based on mainland’s blood transfusion, but now they came back to criticize us.

thrall1976 at once rebuked:


Is this a report debasing mainland? Dell means China?

But the ideas are obviously divergent on how to solve the problems
一个人的冠盖京华 thought:


What the developed countries are not willing to do are all moved to places such as China and India. The cheap labor and destructed environment are all clichés. But without this stuff, what can China have to compete with others? Where could the two-digit growth come from?
Hard, hard, hard.

Song-road said:


Nothing can really solve the problem. After it’s solved, the factories have already been moved to Vietnam.

Old_Shield thought consumers are condemnable as well:


Could Dell reprehend consumers who ordered products in low price?
When you bargain for computers, you are just like Dell that makes order forms in low price (which reduce the wage). When you decry others you’ve got firstly think about yourself.
Have you ever think of farmers when bargaining with rice merchants?

But there existed a paradox:


If you are averse to Dell, then just stop buying its products and bankrupt it so that the workers won’t suffer from low wages. But accurately, they lose the jobs.

Rebuking a comment that attributed the low wage to supply and demand, HuaziGG stated:


Supply and demand is just one aspect. The single worker has no power to bargain and yet the workers have no right to organize labor unions. When Hong Kong students repelled Dell, they performed the function of labor union to aid workers on bargain. To pressure Dell, workers can improve their condition.

Hui_Li sighed:


What a pity.
If mainland doesn’t do this then there will be other places to do so. Many workers can survive if they rely on these factories. Otherwise many would lose their jobs. Dell is the most shameless.

What is the way out remains unknown, but after all, a heart that cares about motherland is always welcomed. When we appreciate the aid from Hong Kong, we had better introspect why we can’t take care of our duty well.


  • D. Sherman

    Every nation currently classified as being “developed” has had it’s past with the exploitation of children, poor pay and working conditions for factory workers.

    This is to be expected as China is simply catching up with the reste of the developed world. In time China will be a fully developed economy and working condtions will improve and higher wages will follow. This of course, like eery other developed country, will cause China to lose these jobs to less developed countries.

  • I have planned to buy a laptop computer. Because I live in Xiamen, a city where Dell headquartered, so I have planned to buy it from considering the convenience of customer service. But when I heard of this news, I thought I had better to make another choice.

  • I need more information for my homework!!!

  • It is amazing to see how capitalism and the desire for profit rule the world – and some Chinese companies are apparently already considering relocating their production sites to even cheaper countries as wages in China already begin to rise.
    Let’s see where this all leads in the end when China is a fully developed country…

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