Some new shit has come to light. Given the nature of this new shit, it's not just, uh, it might not be just a stupid new immigration rule that's blocking my foreign expert certificate. I'm privy to some new information. My thinking about this case has been all wrong.
Evidently, Diana, the only name I knew the owner of Huasheng by, has a friend named Ms. Zhang Wei who works at the Shanxi Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. Yeah, the office where my expired foreign expert certificate remains illegally un-cancelled. They're good friends. Like good enough to break the law for one another I guess.
I have her email and have sent her a request to cancel said document but my guess is she won't be hopping to that any time soon. I also tried to send my story along with this person's contact information to a couple of the agencies in China where they are supposed to be looking out for the lowly worker. And when I say that I am embarrassed at how much lowlier than I the lowliest of the lowly migrant workers in China really are. But as an ESL teacher, I still count myself amongst them.
Here's a quote from this article:
"Few would contest the terrible conditions faced by many Chinese workers – especially the 150 million members of the “floating population,” who migrate to urban areas from their poor homes in the countryside. These men, women and children often work without written contracts in dangerous conditions for up to eighteen hours per day and under $100 per month."
And like mine, these salaries are often paid late or not at all. 150 MILLION! It seems the dozen or so workers at Huasheng who were hired and never paid are just a drop in the bucket! This is much more common practice in China that I had thought! I wonder if it's such common practice that these poor girls, (and the two male drivers), who I worked with at Huasheng may have been EXPECTING IT! I don't remember any of them being overly outraged or even having much or anything bad to say about the people who had just ripped them off a month's wages. Maybe they were told that if they complained, there are people in government offices who are friends that will make their prospects for work shrink considerably. The old, "You tell anyone about this and you'll never work in this town again," ploy.
Anyway, I am from a country where we have labour standards and I wasn't about to let this go. So I did a search. In English. It is NOT easy to find anyone to contact about such things. Presumably because it's a new thing and, as the article describes, corporations, like American ones, who take advantage of this cheap labour, have threatened to "divest" themselves from China if they treat their lowly workers with any dignity. And as the corporations pressure China to keep labour standards abysmal and labour costs exploitatively cheap, they pretend to tisk tisk the human rights violations in China. Our world!
Another quote from the article is what I've been blathering about in the posts about this:
"However, the rights and standards which Beijing writes on paper do not help workers unless they are enforced throughout the country."
The ministry I managed to find whose job it is on paper to ensure transparency, enforce new and reasonable labour laws, and root out and punish corruption is the S.P.P. The Supreme People's Procuraturate! It even SOUNDS powerful but that last word will always be underlined in red squiggly. I don't think it's a word. But never mind, I found their website, which was, simply enough, www.spp.gov.cn. I went looking for an email where I could inform somebody of my story. It was all in Chinese but there was a letter icon that I thought could be an email link. I clicked on it and got a message that the site was insecure. Hmmmm... this isn't going to be easy. Why would it be?
After a couple hours of surfing into brick walls, I found a few emails and sent them my story. One for the SPP; one for the office of the new and current Procurator General, Zhang Jun; one for the National People's Congress of China; one for Deng Guangming who is an assistant prosecutor for international cooperation; and the Canadian chamber of commerce in China. All but the last one came back with the message that the email address doesn't exist.
I've seen a couple stories in my web surfing about the SPP going after politicians and high profile businessmen. I get the feeling that "the people" the REAL people are just small potatoes to these anti-corruption agencies. But you never know, maybe the Chinese chamber of commerce will help me. heh heh heh. Who am I kidding? A Canadian government agency? An international Canadian government agency? I'll get more help from Ms. Zhang Wei herself.
And as we read the article, it is revealed that the impotence of Chinese labour unions, (whose paychecks are paid by the Chinese companies they represent), will have their leaders fired if they try to force companies to abide by any decent labour laws. The US companies in China do not share the same privilege. They MUST obey the laws of their adopted labour source, I mean slave source, I mean country, thus creating marked advantage within China for Chinese companies. THAT'S why the US corporations are pissed off! They'll have to pay their workers better wages and maybe observe minimal human rights if the new labour laws are introduced. What an outrage! "I mean," say corporations like G.E., Nike, Ford, Microsoft, Dell, "why should we have to raise our workers' wages from 'starvation' all the way up to 'possible survival'?"
Small business seems to think just as little of rule of law in China. The more I find out about China, the more I understand that I was much safer working on an illegal business visa over there. Work visas won't be the way to go until companies obey the laws and there are organizations of enforcement with power enough to gain respect. And who knows when THAT might be.
I hearken back to the first time I tried to quit Huasheng. After my contract was just completely changed for the worst in every way. They actually threatened to have me removed from the country before I could sleep through the night. The second time, when I actually DID quit, they threatened to publish stories about me that would ruin my reputation. The old, "Do what I command or you'll never work in this town again," ploy. I chuckled at the time at the grade school shading being offered by two grown-ass adults:
these two con artists. But now I wonder if in a country so thoroughly mired in corruption, they mightn't have been empty threats. Gives me a little bit of a spinal chill. They don't look like much. They AREN'T much. But with an impotent system of checks and balances, corporate oversight and regulation, the very backbones of a supposedly socialist society, these two dickshits are just soldiers of capitalism run amok. They don't have a care in the world about possible consequences of their despicable business practices toward their employees OR themselves. Oh my GOD Magnum it would be sweet to fine these shitstains or put them out of business or even in jail! But I have limited faith that any of my emails are going to work.
And it seems, according to this article, that I'm about the umpteen millionth in line. Instead of supporting the workers, the virtual slogan of the Chinese Communist Party, people protesting their companies not paying the wages they are owed are being treated like criminals. People who are being ripped off by their companies are going to jail while the company owners who committed the actual crimes are not. This isn't new and it's not new to me so I really shouldn't be all that surprised at what happened on my trip to China. But now I feel like I can share in the Chinese workers' fight. With major corporations, (who are very largely responsible for China's economic boom), threatening to leave if China starts giving a shit about its workers, I don't like their chances, but FIGHTING!
I hope they win. Meanwhile, I'm not so sure I want to go back there. I'll watch from the safer climes of Saudi Arabia or Russia or some other nation needing English instruction. It'd sure be nice to find something here in Korea!
At any rate, I often feel like a broken record blathering on and on about this travesty and boring my friends to tears. Like back when I broke up with my teenage girlfriend, Kelly. I saw my friends try to support me and get me to stop droning on about it, but I didn't. Then I began seeing people cross the street if they saw me coming and pretend not to see me so as to avoid a stop-and-chat that would undoubtedly include the latest pussyaching about Kelly. I had this really sick Kelly thing! I am sure the friends I'm staying with would rather hear about anything other than my getting Shanghaied in China! And today I got a message from a Chinese friend asking how I'm doing and I started in with this new information. The friend just didn't reply. The online equivalent of saying, "I'm just going to see what's happening over there... somewhere that isn't here."
So hopefully this'll stick a fork in this blog-wise and personally. My blog is my therapy. Putting this out there might help me to let it go. I feel a bit better having millions of Chinese brothers and sisters who have been screwed by their employers too. So in my almost exclusively "at least" world, at least I've got that going for me. Which is nice.