Labor Pains

In the midst of boom times, millions of workers are being fired, furloughed and abused in the workplace, and anger is rising while the authorities crack down

"LEATHER BELTS, LEATHER belts, big bargain price!" shouted Chen Zhong, hoisting a fistful of the articles in question on the edge of Ritan Park in Beijing. Chen (not his real name) is one of China's new entrepreneurs -- but hardly by choice. A year ago, he was laid off by the state-owned leather factory where he worked for more than 25 years and was given a stipend of $10.50 a month, less than half his previous salary and not enough to support / his family of four. The leather plant is half shut and bankrupt because it cannot find a market...

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