Mentally ill enslaved in China factory freed

December 15th, 2010 - 2:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Dec 15 (IANS) At least 12 mentally ill people, enslaved in a factory in China’s Xinjiang Uygur region, have been rescued and the factory owner arrested and charged with abuse, officials said.Police detained factory owner Li Xinglin Tuesday evening in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

Li had fled after local media revealed details about his abuse of mentally ill people in his factory, the China Daily reported Wednesday. His son, Li Chenglong, was also arrested while fleeing on a bus.

The factory, Jiaersi Green Construction Material Chemical Factory, registered in July 2006, produces quartz sand.

Reporters from the Xinjiang Metropolis News were tipped that the factory was using mentally ill workers. They went to the factory under cover and interviewed the owner about pollution, and viewed the conditions there.

The reporters found the workshop covered with thick dust, but workers had no masks.

Some neighbours told them that similar plants in the area were closed from October to March but workers at Jiaersi worked all year round and that too without pay.

The report aroused widespread publicity and resulted in prompt action, and the factory has been closed.

The rescued workers have been placed under the care of local authorities.

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