Asylum owner sells mentally disabled people as slaves

Chinese people have reacted with indignation to news of mentally disabled people being sold as slaves by the owner of an asylum in Sichuan Province.

The victims were forced to work long hours for no pay in appalling conditions at the Jiaersi Green Construction Material Chemical Factory in Toksun, Xinjiang. They had no safety equipment despite the dangerous conditions and heavy dust at the factory.

The workers were fed the same food as the factory’s dogs, suffered regular beatings from foremen and worked all year round, according to the Beijing News. Similar factories in the area usually only employed workers during the summer months at a rate of 150 yuan a day.

The eleven workers had been sold to factory owner Li Xinglin by an asylum in Qu County, Sichuan Province run by a man named Zeng Lingquan. Both are now in police custody, along with Li’s wife.

Zeng gave an interview to people’s Daily claiming to be shocked at the conditions at the factory, but local investigators found evidence that he had sold at least 70 people to work in similar deals since 1996.

The reaction of China’s netizens was, as ever, a joy to behold. China Smack did sterling work translating the shocked and angry postings on social media sites, giving hope that maybe shame and public pressure will see an end to such instances of abuse.