1,600 Chinese Die Daily from Overwork
By Vittorio Hernandez | July 1, 2014 9:00 AM EST
Although China's red-hot economy has slowed down, the Asian giant is still the envy of many western economies that suffered contraction after the global financial crisis in 2008, while Beijing was logging double-digit GDP growth rates.
However, a report by Bloomberg released on Monday indicated that the price of success of China's economic miracle is overworked workers that some were literally dying on their work stations.
One of them is 48-year-old Li Jianhua, head of the country's banking regulator, who died on his desk rushing to finish a report before sunrise. Li is one of 1,600 Chinese who die daily from overwork, according to China Radio International.
The number, reckoned on a yearly basis, is a staggering 600,000 deaths due to overwork, estimated the China Youth Daily.
Other specific examples of Chinese who were worked to death, as discussed in Weibo - China's equivalent of Twitter - are a 24-year-old junior employee of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, a 26-year-old auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers and one of the chief designers of the country's next-generation fighter jets employed by state-run AVIC Shenyang Aircraft Corp.
One Weibo member asked, "What's the point of working overtime so you can work to death? The member added that his superior told company employees to spend more time on the job.
Jeff Kingston, director of Asian studies at the Temple University in Tokyo, explained that because China is still a rising economy, "people are still buying into that hardworking ethos." In contrast, Japanese workers, who because of their national affluence, would question such norms and values.
No less than the International Labor Organisation have noticed that excessive overtime has become an issue in China.
Li, the dead boss of China Banking Regulatory Commission, oversaw the boom in the country's trust products valued at about $6.2 trillion. In the last 6 months of 2013, he visited 10 provinces and met with all 68 trust companies in China. It was not only Li, but also his employees who often worked past midnight daily.
His work left Li little time for family life and caused him to suffer from shingles. Li was at home when he collapsed trying to finish the report before the sun came up, but dawn never came because death had overtaken the workaholic regulator who forget he also had to also regulate his own working hours and health.
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