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The Boston Globe

Business

Hewlett-Packard changes its rules on China labor

HONG KONG — Hewlett-Packard Co., one of the world’s largest makers of computers and other electronics, is imposing new limits on the employment of students and temporary agency workers at factories across China. The move, following recent efforts by Apple Inc. to increase scrutiny of student workers, reflects a significant shift in how electronics companies view problematic labor practices in China.

Many factories in China have long relied on high school students, vocational school students, and temporary workers to cope with periodic surges in orders. Students complain of being ordered by school administrators to put in very long hours on short notice at jobs with no relevance to their studies; local governments sometimes order schools to provide labor, and the factories pay school administrators a bonus.

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