Santa’s Workshop – Inside China’s Slave Labour Toy Factories. Just in time (actually this documentary is a couple years old, much before the Bangladesh disasters) to put a damper on Black Friday comes this Swedish made documentary that I just discovered. It is about China’s slave labor called: “Santa’s Workshop – Inside China’s Slave Labour Toy Factories”. It is 32 minutes long.
I know, you are thinking:”There is no way am I going to watch this Swedish documentary and with subtitles? Yikes!!” Let me first say that this documentary takes all of the most important documentation, the books, the articles, the blogs, the videos about Chinese labor practices and condenses it all into a very succinct 32 minutes and it is not over the top. Santa’s Workshop covers all of these major problems in a very matter of fact approach.
Sweden is probably the most ethical country in the world, but even in this documentary, you can see how their company executives purposely look away at the abuses within their Chinese factories, which is quite disheartening knowing that many more countries and people who have much lower ethics. This film shows the problems with working conditions, how easily the Chinese companies get around overtime rules and inspections (even Apple factories are unable to comply and their Foxconn factory is under constant scrutiny) and their reasons why these companies regularly break the rules. Also, the subject of an “authorized” union in China is briefly examined and then compared to an organized union in Thailand. The video, then, underscores the reasons why even unions in Thailand have no power either. One of one last topics of focus is the disregard of environmental regulations and the governmental apathy to their citizens health. This is a great documentary. If you had to see just one documentary about Chinese slave labor and what Americans are doing to promote these practices see “Santa’a Workshop – Inside China’s Slave Labour Toy Factories”. You can see it on YouTube (if you didn’t want to use the top link).
I am also adding a link to an example physical torture employed on some workers in a Chinese factory. In this article, workers got electrical shocks, here is the link: Chinese police rescue tortured workers at kiln.
There was a series of episodes shown last year (2012) on Al Jazeera TV called Slavery: A 21st Century Evil – Prison slaves, 25 minutes. However, all attempts to see this episode are now blocked, most likely by the Chinese government. This show caused such a furor in China that Al Jazeera reporter, Melissa Chan was kicked out of the country and banned from coming back as reported by the New York Times, (if you will note the NY Times link to the episode does not work either). I did see the video last year, too bad I didn’t download and save it, who knew that it would not be allowed in America? It is very creepy the influence of Chinese totalitarian government seeping into the American freedom of speech. Some more paranoid people than I, really dislike that our Chinese-made computers could be easily be altered (at the factory) to track everything about us and could be a potential computer viral vector that can be unleashed by the Chinese government. (From the book “Cyber War: The next threat to National Security and What to do about it” by Richard A. Clarke, former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism) There is speculation than computer hacking from China maybe even worse than our own NSA. So, it is very rare for news stories that reflect badly on China, ever make it to the United States. Just something to think about for the holidays.
The Santa’s workshop is the best video to date on this subject, however there is a new project in the works, which will be a full length documentary: see my blog entry “True Cost” by Andrew Morgan which started as a Kickstarter project.
This Santa workshop documentary is being posted for those who believe there is no slave labor.
“Love makes the world spin clockwise. Greed makes it go counter-clockwise.” -Jack Ackerman