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26 More on Trial for Slave Labor Scandal
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Another 26 people went on trial on Wednesday in north China's Shanxi Province in connection with a string of slave labor scandals in brick kilns first exposed in early June.

The 26 defendants were tried in seven separate cases at four different courts in Yongji City, Ruicheng County, Linyi County, and Xinjiang County -- all administered by Shanxi's Yuncheng City.

The defendants were all charged with forcing laborers to work for them in unspeakable conditions. In one case tried at Yongji court, Yang Xiaohong and three other defendants were accused of intentionally injuring other people.

The results of the trials will be announced at a later date.

Also Wednesday, the Intermediate People's Court of Linfen City of Shanxi Province opened a second court session following the July 4th trial for five high-profile defendants including kiln boss Wang Bingbing, foreman Heng Tinghan, and employees Zhao Yanbing, Heng Mingyang, and Liu Dongsheng.

The People's Procuratorates of Linfen City said defendants Heng Tinghan, Zhao Yanbing, and Liu Dongsheng had been charged with illegal detention and murder, while defendants Heng Mingyang, son of Heng Tinghan, and Wang Bingbing had to face illegal detention charges.

The judges did not reach a verdict on Wednesday.

The use of forced laborers hit the headlines after more than 400 parents in central China's Henan Province posted a call-for-help letter on the internet last month, saying their missing children had been sold to small brick kilns in Shanxi and Henan as forced laborers.

By June 22, 359 people, including 12 children, had been rescued from illegal brick kilns in Shanxi and police had arrested 38 people. Police in Henan rescued 217 people, including 29 children, and arrested 120 people in a four-day crackdown.

On Tuesday, three managers of two illegal brick kilns went on trial in Xiangning and Xiangfen counties in connection with the forced labor scandal.

(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2007)

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