Tuesday, April 22, 2008 - In The China Price, Alexandra Harney examines some of the reasons why China is able to offer such low prices on its manufactured goods. She also highlights the consequences of the “China price,” including the health and safety of workers and environmental degradation.
In a roundtable discussion at the National Committee, Ms. Harney talked about her research and some of the people she profiled in her book. She described “shadow factories,” which do not meet labor standards but often serve as a sort of secret subcontractor to the model factories, and the “falsification engineers” who show factories how to prepare fake documents related to work hours and payment of wages. The discussion also touched on the recent introduction of China’s new labor contract law and how this may be an impetus for change.
Alexandra Harney has been working as a journalist in Asia for most of the past decade. She has covered China and Japan for The Financial Times and was an editor at the newspaper in London. From 2003 to 2006, she was the FT’s south China correspondent.