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Man Sentenced to Death in Forced Labor Scandal
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An employee of a brick kiln at the center of the forced labor scandal in north China's Shanxi Province has been sentenced to death, while the boss of the kiln was given a prison term of nine years.

Zhao Yanbing, who was hired to supervise workers in the kiln, was found guilty of manslaughter by the Intermediate People's Court of Linfen City, Shanxi, according to a press conference held by the Shanxi Provincial Higher People's Court on Tuesday.

Zhao had previously admitted on national television to beating a mentally handicapped man to death for not working quickly enough last November.

Foreman Heng Tinghan was given life imprisonment for intentionally injuring workers and for illegal detention. Following his arrest last month, Heng famously said about his role in the scandal, "I felt it was a fairly small thing."

The boss of the kiln, Wang Bingbing, the son of a local Communist Party village chief, was sentenced to nine years in prison for illegal detention.

Twenty-six other employees were given prison sentences. Six taskmasters, convicted of forcing workers to labor in brick kilns owned by Wang in Caosheng Village from March to late May this year, have been sentenced to jail terms ranging from 18 months to three years.

The workers had been forced to labor overtime without payment. During the period, 18 workers were injured, one seriously, in unspeakable working conditions.

A total of 29 brick kiln bosses, foremen, supervisors or taskmasters, tried by courts in different cities and counties of Shanxi in seven separate cases, have been given jail terms so far, the court statement concluded.

Sentences of an additional 12 people involved in five cases are expected to be made public in a few days, the court spokesman said.

(Xinhua News Agency July 17, 2007)

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