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Samsung to inspect suppliers amid child labor accusations

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics said Tuesday it would inspect nearly 250 Chinese firms manufacturing goods for the South Korean tech giant, after a U.S.-based group accused one supplier of using child labor.

Samsung said on-site inspections would be carried out at 105 Chinese firms with exclusive Samsung contracts, while 144 other non-exclusive suppliers would be required to provide documentary proof of their compliance with labor codes.

“We are implementing a rigorous plan to address any potential violations,” the company said in a statement, vowing to terminate contracts with any Chinese suppliers in violation of labor norms.

The on-site inspections will be carried out by a 100-member team by the end of September, it said.

China Labor Watch, a New York-based rights group, reported last month that a firm assembling mobile phones for Samsung in the southern Chinese city of Huizhou, HEG Electronics, employed children under the age of 16.

Initial audits conducted by Samsung found HEG employed teenaged student workers and interns, but none younger than 16, the company said.

However, it did uncover a system of fines for lateness and absence — banned in China — as well as excessive overtime and inadequate health and safety standards.

Samsung said it had asked HEG to improve working conditions.

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