Child labor in China is the cross-cultural encounter that I am investigating for this semester. I chose this topic because I do not know much about China’s rules and policies on children and I believe that children should not be working at a young age. In this blog, I am going to talk about why children in China are engaging in work at a young age, but before I elaborate on my research findings, I am going to talk about my knowledge about the subject prior to what I have discovered. When I was young, I thought the reason why children in China worked at a young age was because China’s ideology was similar to America, responsibility and individuality. Most American parents encourage his or her child to set up a lemonade stand, rake leaves, shovel snow, or do chores around the house; however, later in life I would discover that this is not the same case in China. Growing up, I learned to accept things from what I heard from the media and from what other people said about China. I was led to believe that China’s government was to blame for the increasing amount of young workers because the demand of supplies in China was so great that the government needed children to work for them to fulfill the quota. After doing research, I learned this is not necessarily the case. According to the China Labour Bulletin, I found out that a good potion of Chinese children do not have easy access to education like the United States because the location of schools is difficult and poor families are unable to afford to put their children in school. Also, some children are fooled into working at a young age by their family members, but one of the main reasons why children are working at a young age is because their family cannot afford the education for their children. It never came across my mind that the lack of education was one of the main causes of children working at a young age. Knowing this information now, I can start to see the picture. It is to my understanding that compared to American schooling, Chinese schools have longer days and less time off, if this is true, then it is going to be more difficult for parents who do not have enough money to put their children in school. I feel as though I learnt a lot off of this curious question because before I based my beliefs according to America’s society and what I heard, but now I am starting to see things in a new perspective.
China Labour Bulletin. November 2003Child Labour in China: Causes and solutions. Electronic document, http://www.china-labour.org.hk/en/node/3304 accessed March 16, 2008.