China Blue

Topics: Paul Krugman Pages: 6 (2033 words) Published: May 10, 2012
Sonny Phan
Politics of China
Second Paper
In the film “China Blue”, a seventeen year old girl, Jasmine Li, works in a Chinese jeans factory. From this documentary we learn about the pay Jasmine was receiving for her hard work, half a Yuan an hour which is equal to about six US cents. We also learn about the condition of the factory and dorms, the rules that the workers have to abide to, and how important these factories are. From just these sweat shops we learn about the economic, social, and political problems that has arisen in China. It also shows us inequality and inequity of the society in China.

Sweat shops has been a known epidemic in China for a while now, with public revealing of sweat shops making products for popular companies, such as Apple and Nike. In “China Blue” it focuses on a sweat shop producing jeans for a company based in Turkey, called Vigaze Jeans. With the rapid growth of China’s population, there are not a lot of high quality opportunities so most people have no choice but to settle with the sweat shops. Working at the this particular sweat shop, workers are not allow to have breaks and are allowed to only have two bathroom breaks the whole day. The food that is served to the workers is deducted out of their paycheck, so are earning less than their already significantly low pay. Not only do the food deduct from their pay, the factory also hand out fines if workers disobey the rules that are put out. For example, in the documentary Jasmine goes into town with other fellow workers after they were done with work, however that is not allowed so they received a significant fine.

One would ask why there is not a standard on the working condition and how the workers are treated. In the documentary it showed officials coming to the factories to check on the conditions, however it is basically useless because the workers at the factories are trained to lie to officials. Not only were there officials coming in to check on the conditions, there were also representatives of the company that the factory produces for coming in also. Those company representatives come in to negotiate on the price they are buying for. The price that they buy it for is a fraction of how much they sell it for retail for. So the factory is not the only one to blame for how the workers are paid, the company that the factory produces for is also at fault. Because they are selling what they produce for so low, they have to pay the workers lower. Not saying that the companies are the primary to blame, the factories could definitely do a better job to help the workers.

Obviously the people that suffer the most from this case are the workers of the sweat shops. If there were a list of pros and cons for the workers, the cons would greatly significantly outnumber the pros. The only benefit that the workers are really getting is the low pay, that aspect could also be place into the con section, since the pay can barely support the workers. It’s unfortunate that they have no say in how they are treated. Whatever suggestions that they have, it is brushed aside and forgotten. Aside from the low pay they are receiving, sometimes the workers do not receive their paychecks on time also. So that’s a lose-and-lose situation that they face. In a scene in the documentary, the workers were protesting about their paychecks, but that did nothing. The owner of the factory, Mr. Lam, former chief of Police, basically gave them an ultimatum but the workers cannot afford to just quit their jobs.

What we learn from that scene is that the workers are not just sitting around being unfairly treated; they do try to do something about their situation. It just does not work. Also it does not help that the owner of the factory used to be the chief of Police, basically that means he is untouchable. He could basically do whatever he wants, and get whatever he wants, solely based on his high ranking status. As seen in the documentary, when asked...
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