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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Olympics ban for China firm
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A Chinese stationery firm accused of using child labour has been stripped of its licence to produce merchandise for the 2008 Olympics.

Lekit Stationery was believed to have employed eight under-age workers, the Beijing Olympic committee said.

Officials investigated the case after a report by advocacy group PlayFair 2008 claimed four firms making Olympic products were exploiting workers.

Three other firms' contracts have been suspended over lesser violations.

'Unaware'

The report from the Beijing Olympic organising committee (BOCOG) found that from January to February 2007, Lekit Stationery in Dongguan "was believed to have used child labour by employing eight students for packaging work".

"BOCOG will, in line with its licensing agreement, seriously deal with any licensees who have violated national labour laws and regulations," the committee said in a statement on Tuesday.

The work the under-age employees were doing was not related to any Olympic merchandise.

Three other companies making Olympic products - Eagle Leather Products, also in Dongguan, and two companies in nearby Shenzhen, Yue Wing Cheong Light Products and Mainland Headwear Holdings - were also found guilty of violating labour laws.

The three companies "had overtime issues, but no child labour issues were discovered," the committee statement said.

These companies will still be able to make products already under licence, but would be suspended from designing any new Olympic merchandise until they altered their business operations, the statement said.

BOCOG has licensed about 60 Chinese firms to produce Olympic merchandise such as caps, bags, pens and stationery for the Games in 2008.

The Playfair report said the four factories it singled out for criticism were guilty of neglecting health and safety, as well as paying less than the minimum wage and demanding unpaid overtime.

All four firms denied the accusations, although Lekit subsequently admitted to using child labour.

In an interview with the BBC last month, the company insisted the minors were employed by one of its sub-contractors, and that Lekit was unaware this firm had employed under-age staff.




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