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Child Laborer Killed Himself After Disappointment in Love Affair
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A Beijing garment factory has been ordered to pay 104,000 yuan (about US$ 13,000) in compensation to the parents of a 12-year-old child laborer who killed himself after being rejected by the young woman he had set his heart on, according to a court ruling Wednesday.

The boy referred to as "Zhao Gang" was found dead in the factory dormitory at 11:00 PM on August 3 last year, poisoned with the pesticide DDVP, according to police.

Earlier that day, he told a 18-year-old worker he wanted to be her boyfriend but she turned him down. That night he sent the girl a text message saying she deserved a better man.

But the girl had already turned off her cell phone and did not see the message until the next day. She said she knew that Zhao was a worker in the factory.

Zhao, who was only 12 years old according to his residence permit, began working in the factory ironing clothes in 2005, said his parents, who work in Beijing.

Children under the age of 16 cannot legally work in China.

The factory said that Zhao's parents and uncle had told them the boy was 16, adding that he was not employed by the factory but only living in the factory with his uncle, who was the factory gatekeeper.

The Changping District People's Court said that the factory had violated the bans on the use of child labor. It said Zhao was illegally employed and ordered it to pay compensation and the funeral expenses.

Zhao's parents also bore some responsibility for "insufficient parenting", said the court.

(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2007)

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