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China Blue: A Documentary Movie Reflection
China Blue (Peled, 2005) is a documentary film about Chinese immigrants from rural provinces of China to the city of Guangdong to work on sweatshops. It particularly highlights the life of 17-year old Jasmine who went to work for Lifeng Clothing Factory. Because these migrant workers are mostly uneducated, they were easily exploited by the factory owner. Like other garment factory workers around China, Jasmine works in a very pitiful condition; housed on company dormitory wherein twelve workers have to cramp together in a single room sharing one toilet; delayed, penalized, and below minimum wages; no overtime pay; no fixed breaks; no day offs; and prohibited union organizations. Though there are laws in China that are supposed to protect the rights of the labor workers, the implementation is difficult because companies would forge their documents and data to be able to compete with other export garment factories.
The situation of labor workers in China is a far cry from the benefits and protection that factory workers in the US are enjoying under the US. Labor laws—which are strictly adhered to and implemented, thus workers’ rights are protected from abuse or exploitation of employers. Employees are able to have security in terms of laws regulating minimum wages, working conditions, child labor, and workers’ compensation for those who gets injured while performing his work. During the middle of 1900s, the fight for better working condition and fair compensation lead to enactment of laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that protects workers on any form of discrimination; Age Discrimination Act in Employment of 1967 that protects aged workers from discrimination; and Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 that ensures safety in the workplace for workers (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2007). These allowed workers to move up the economic ladder and enjoy fair compensation for their work unlike the current situation of workers in sweatshops all around China.
China Blue was a great documentary but somehow lacks motivation for action. It only exposed the current situation in China but did not attempt in trying to convey to Chinese authorities the reality in sweatshops. I believe that the directors could have at least gone more in-depth and further their efforts to involve the Chinese national government.
Peled, M. (Director). (2005). China Blue [Motion Picture].
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. (2007). U.S. Labor Law since the Early Twentieth Century. Retrieved September 22, 2010, from Columbia University Press: http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/bus/A0859157.html