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Hong Kong student activists take on human rights abuser Walt Disney Corp.

080411_disney.jpgWhat are student activists doing in Hong Kong? The students who were involved in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 became some of the most famous student protestors of all time. But what few people know is that Hong Kong students are following in the footsteps of their counterparts on the mainland and forming their own protest groups. One group, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), has decided to take on Disney. SACOM was formed by Hong Kong students in June 2005. They began as a small group of students who were upset by the mistreatment of janitors and security workers at their university. This interest in the labourers at their university soon grew to encompass labour rights in general, particularly those of individuals working in Hong Kong and mainland China. Prior to the opening of the Disney theme park in Hong Kong, SACOM joined up with Disney Hunter, another university-based activist group, to launch the “Looking for Mickey Mouse’s Conscience” campaign. Together, they set out to take on the second most powerful media corporation in the United States. What is the problem? Hong Kong Disneyland has received fewer visitors than they had initially anticipated and so their profits rely heavily on money made from souvenirs and memorabilia such as pens, stuffed toys, clothing, and the famous Mickey Mouse ears hats. However, what many visitors don’t know is that their mementos were manufactured and sewn by underpaid and overworked Chinese labourers who suffer daily human rights abuses. Disney also has factories in Haiti, India, and Pakistan; and there have been allegations of human rights abuses in factories in all four countries. An article in the Los Angeles Times reported on March 10th, 2008 that Disney often signs contracts with third-party manufacturers to escape blame for inhumane factory conditions. This allows Disney to evade the guidelines set out in its code of conduct. Disney argues that because the workers sign contracts with a third party, they are not liable for the employees who manufacture their goods. Image source: > Continue.

News selected by Covalence | Country: China | Company: Disney | Source: The Meliorist

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