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Child Labour in China Common conjecture has it that child labour was more or less wiped out in post-liberation China and that its reappearance is directly linked to the increased role of private enterprise in the Chinese economy It was well known that the use of child labour was widespread before the Chinese Communist Party CCP took power in 1949 The use of children was a fundamental part of Chinas first attempts to industrialize The following description of a Tianjin cotton mill is the early 1930s illustrates this Children labored in every department boys in the departments where male adults predominated girls in the womens department In the spinning mills they were most often put to work at piecing In the weaving mill they were assigned to heddling or threading the warp along a set of parallel cords in the loom Both these jobs require excellent eyesight dexterity and concentration 1 Once the CCP took power in 1949 the new government set about reforming the education system and getting children out of the workplace and back into school Its success in the reduction of child labour in China was significant But it is hard to measure how significant and successful it was because of government propaganda at that time claimed near total success but independent figures are unavailable Nonetheless the fact that child labour is now clearly back is largely accepted both inside and outside China even if its extent remains mostly unmeasured It seems that officials with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security MOLSS are not acknowledging the existence of the problem According to a article published in Hong Kong officials at the MOLSS claim that no government figures are available because child labour is not a problem in China 2 Chinas minimum age for legal employment is 16 years old Many of the child who get jobs in Chinas coastal regions do so on the basis of fake borrowed
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