"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Friday, February 3, 2012

Chinese "Slavery" in Africa - The Road to Serfdom, Part XIV

President Robert Mugabe is welcomed to Beijing by the Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The Road to Serfdom Series
Communist Party owned Chinese state companies are making virtual "slaves" or Serfs of their African workers
  • The Chinese state owned companies working with corrupt local African governments to exploit the workers.
  • "The beatings happen very often," said a 28-year-old carpenter, wearing blue overalls as he made the long walk home after a 14-hour shift. "They ill-treat you and, if you make a mistake, they beat you up."

Modern Serfdom  -  George Orwell's 1984 future is here.  African workers are being viciously beaten and exploited by their "employer".  But there is not much you can do when your employer is the Communist Party of China and the Party has paid off local African authoritarian governments to look the other way.

Zimbabwe's national defense college is under construction within a sprawling, heavily-guarded compound whose brooding presence sends a clear message to any would-be revolutionary. Some have dubbed it the "Robert Mugabe national school of intelligence".

The construction site north of Harare has also become the lightning rod for another source of simmering resentment – Chinese labor practices reports the UK Guardian.

Surrounded by a perimeter wall that runs for a kilometer through what was once farmland, the shadowy military academy is being built by a Chinese contractor whose managers are accused of meting out physical punishments, miserable conditions and meager pay.

"The beatings happen very often," said a 28-year-old carpenter, wearing blue overalls as he made the long walk home after a 14-hour shift. "They ill-treat you and, if you make a mistake, they beat you up.
The government of Zimbabwe works hand-in-hand with
the Chinese to make sure "order" is maintained among
the Serfs working for Communist owned companies.

"I saw some men beaten up yesterday. A guy complained: 'You're not treating us like human beings,' and the Chinese replied: 'You should appreciate we've come to assist you.' They beat him up and he was fired." He estimated that there were about 600 Zimbabwean and 300 Chinese workers on the site. Around 50 of the Chinese were managers.

Some of the Chinese have "nice homes inside" while others live in wooden shacks just outside the complex. The Zimbabweans and Chinese rarely mix, he added. "They don't speak English so we use sign language. The Chinese eat off plates, then give us the leftovers."

The carpenter said he typically gets up at 4am and works from 7am to 9pm every day. For this he is paid $4 (£2.50) a day, but at least it is work so he can feed his wife and three children. "We don't have a choice because we need to survive. But if it was possible to chase all the Chinese away, I would."

A 26-year-old builder, on his way to a night shift, said: "We tried to go on strike but the leader of it was beaten up and sacked. The government doesn't say anything, even though it knows people are beaten up. I saw them undress some workers and beat them with helmets. Some of them were crying with the pain.

"We feel angry but we need money, so there is no choice. If you don't work 10 hours, there is no money."

Zimbabwe received a Chinese loan of $98 million to build the college. It will be repaid over 20 years through earnings from the Marange diamond fields, which are being mined by another Chinese firm amid widespread claims of human rights violations under military control.

(The UK Guardian)

Chinese State-Owned Company in African Corruption Scandal


Modern Serfs
"Serf" workers at Chinese-run copper mines in Zambia.

The Chinese Communist state owned Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Corporation works their "Serfs" in brutally long shifts
  • Miners at Sino Metals work five 12-hour shifts a week as well as a sixth 18-hour "change shift"
  • Some miners described working 365 days without a single day off.
  • These Serfs are prevented from forming unions and the Zambian government does nothing to protect them.

Chinese-run copper mines in Zambia are breaking the law with poor health and safety conditions, hostility to trade unions and regular labor shifts of 12 and even 18 hours, a rights watchdog claimed.

Workers describe abusive employment conditions that violate national and international standards and compare unfavorably with other multinational copper miners in Zambia, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Copper mining is the lifeblood of Zambia's economy, contributing nearly 75% of exports and two-thirds of central government revenue reports the UK Guardian.

The country has become one of the most striking examples of Chinese investors' rapid expansion across Africa. The four Chinese-run copper mining companies in Zambia are subsidiaries of China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Corporation, a state-owned enterprise under the authority of China's highest executive body.

HRW's 122-page report, You'll be fired if you refuse: Labor abuses in Zambia's Chinese state-owned copper mines, accuses them of persistent abuses.

A miner at Non-Ferrous China Africa (NFCA) told HRW: "Sometimes when you find yourself in a dangerous position, they tell you to go ahead with the work. They just consider production, not safety. If someone dies, he can be replaced tomorrow. And if you report the problem, you'll lose your job."

Last year miners at three of the four Chinese-run copper-mining operations went on strike, hopeful that the new government's election would create an environment for improved conditions. Production ground to a halt. A week later, NFCA, the longest-operating Chinese-owned copper mine, fired at least 1,000 striking workers.

Some Chinese-run copper operations in Zambia also allegedly require miners to work brutally long shifts, despite difficult conditions involving extreme heat, and contact with acids and noxious chemicals.

Some Chinese-run operations are accused of preventing workers from exercising their right to join the trade union of their choice through threats and intimidation. Miners in companies run by the Chinese or other multinationals also described retaliation against outspoken union representatives, including docked pay or refusal to renew their contracts.

(The UK Guardian)


The Road to Serfdom Series

The world is moving toward a modern form of Neo-Serfdom where everyone works for the all-powerful State or businesses controlled by the State.  A world where individual property rights and economic freedom do not exist. 

FREEDOM IS VANISHING:   What happens when the major employers are owned by government backed investment groups, or your food comes from government owned farms, or your news is delivered by so-called "private" corporations but are in reality connected and interconnected to governments?

George Orwell had a name for it:  Big Brother.

Please check out other stories in our Serfdom series.

THE FEDERALIST - "Argentina fights Saudi Land Grab."

THE FEDERALIST - "LAND GRAB: 160,000 people thrown off their land."

THE FEDERALIST - "China is buying up Argentina."

THE FEDERALIST - "Corporations use Global Warming to steal land."

THE FEDERALIST - "China wants to buy a huge chunk of Iceland"

THE FEDERALIST - "China to buy up Australian farmland"

THE FEDERALIST - "Brazil takes action to protect their farmlands from foreigners"

THE FEDERALIST - "Saudi Arabian "Food Colonies" in Argentina"

THE FEDERALIST - "China buys oil fields in Texas"

THE FEDERALIST - "America is committing suicide - The Road to Serfdom, Part IV"

THE FEDERALIST - "The Road to Serfdom, Part III"

THE FEDERALIST - "Benito Mussolini was right"

THE FEDERALIST - "The Road to Serfdom, Part II"


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