still more

June 23rd, 2007

ESWN has a short note (scroll down to [072] updates on the Shanxi brick kiln, should be second from the top) on the latest in the Shanxi slavery case. It’s two short paragraphs taken from Asia Weekly via Chinese News Net. In the interests of furthering plagiarism, I’ll reproduce the two paragraphs here, but I’ll leave out ESWN’s very short comments:

The change in the language was first noted in the four-page coverage of the case in Shanxi Evening News.  The main article carried the headline: “Our migrant worker brothers have warm, welcoming homes everywhere.”  This article said that in Shanxi, the migrant workers earn more than 10,000 yuan per year with full occuational safety and health conditions plus legal aid mechanisms.  The sub-heading at the top of this article was “Strike at illegal employment; liberate the deceived migrant workers.” … But from June 17, the mainland Chinese media coverage of the illegal brick kilns in Shanxi abandoned the mention of “illegal slave workers,” “kidnapped and sold,” “indentured workers,” “sold and traded” and other language.  Instead, they began using “illegal employment,” “migrants who don’t want to work anymore,” “coerced labor,” etc.

On June 17, Shanxi provincial governor Yu Youjun held a special leadership meeting on “Strike at illegal employment; liberate the deceived migrant workers” in order to make plants to clean up the illegal employment and liverate the decieved migrant workers.  The final part of Yu Youjun’s speech emphasized: “We have to grasp the direction of public opinion and make timely clarifications to society about inaccurate or even exaggerated reports so that we can maintain social stability.”  The last reference is obviously to the Internet forums/blogs in China and the oversesa media.

Instead I’ll add my own comment:

This reminds me of a joke I was told when I lived in Taiyuan: There was once a governor Shanxi province surnamed Hu (胡). In every government meeting, whenever Governor Hu spoke, the secretary would write Hu shuo (胡说). And a note for the unenlightened: “胡说” in the context of the government meetings should be interpreted as “Hu said”, but unfortunately for Governor Hu it is also a Chinese word meaning ‘nonsense’ or ‘bullshit’.

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