A Daily NK source recently sent over a photo that shows North Korean laborers at a Chinese factory manufacturing white protective suits. 

The image (below) confirms a report (in Korean) by Daily NK last month that North Korean laborers are manufacturing face masks and protective suits at a clothing factory in China’s Liaoning Province. 

The massive increase in demand for protective gear in China due to the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have led the clothing company to hire North Korean workers.

The source confirmed this, saying “North Koreans who had long been unable to work [because of COVID-19] are working in the factory.” 

The workers at the factory, however, are reportedly laboring up to 18 hours a day. 

“They work at least 12 hours a day, and then work night shifts until 2 or 3 AM,” a North Korean trader based in Dandong told Daily NK. “A significant number of workers are working so hard they suffer nosebleeds and are completely fatigued.” 

The workers are reportedly paid just RMB 1,700 to 2,000 [USD 237 to 279] a month, the trader said, adding, “It’s not a reasonable amount of money.” 

Chinese workers in Liaoning Province working just nine-hour days are paid at least RMB 1,550 (USD 216) a month. 

In its 2020 white paper on North Korean human rights, the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU) noted that most North Korean laborers working overseas earn minimum wage and suffer from long work hours.

*Translated by Violet Kim

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Mun Dong Hui is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.