Tuesday, June 12, 2007

China condemns Howard & Rudd meeting the Dalai Lama, but condones child labour and other sweat shop practices...

The ABC reports: "Although the Chinese Government is known for frowning upon national leaders who greet the visiting Dalai Lama, it seems a public opinion backlash was the push in the Prime Minister and Kevin Rudd's decisions to meet him."

The usual bullying tactic of the Chinese Government comes in a week that saw media reports that global trade union and labor group investigators found that backpacks, caps and other licensed products for the Beijing games are being made in Chinese factories that employ children as young as 12 and force employees to work long hours for less than minimum wage.

An alliance of global trade unions and labor groups also said they found forced overtime for no pay and hazardous working conditions in four factories in southern China.

It is about time Australian political leaders stopped toadying up to this regime as a benign 'cash cow' and acknowledged that much of the terms of trade advantage China enjoys is a result of child labour, sweat shop exploitation and sundry other human rights violations. This requires a coordinated international response to leave China in no doubt that labour exploitation and economic imperialism is not acceptable.

The Olympics should not have been awarded to China on the grounds of its Tibetan policies alone.

The colonisation and brutalisation of the Tibetan people is a crime against humanity. Countries that persist in persecution and exploitation of minorities (putting aside the question of Tibetan political self-determination) should be condemned. Politicians that duck and weave on Tibet to placate China for trade purposes choose not to face up to their responsibilities to represent their constituents on fundamental human rights issues. It is a sad state of affairs.

The child labour Olympics - something for which the IOC can be truly proud!

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