Official: 1300 Rescued from Slave Labor in China

Officials in China say police have rescued more than 13-hundred people since June forced to work as slaves in kilns, mines and other workshops.

A senior labor official Sun Baoshu said Monday the one-thousand-340 people, including children and mentally handicapped individuals, were frequently beaten and forced to live in prison-like conditions, with little food or water.

Many of the victims were freed in June when thousands of soldiers raided kilns in northern Shanxi and neighboring Henan provinces.

The labor official says although the joint investigation into the matter has concluded, the nationwide crackdown on illegal kilns and other operations will continue. He says the probe is targeting workplaces of more than 12-million people.

Chinese authorities have arrested nearly 160 people and punished 95 Communist Party officials for their alleged involvement in the abuse.

Some of the officials were fired, demoted or expelled from the party.

One kiln employee in Shanxi was sentenced to death for killing a worker. The kiln foreman was sentenced to life in prison.

The brick-kiln scandal surfaced in June after about 400 distraught parents posted a plea on the Internet about their children who they feared had been sold into slavery in Shanxi and Henan provinces.