HC Deb 08 December 1926 vol 200 cc2121-2W

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether any effort has been made since April, 1925, to introduce factory legislation in the British and foreign concessions in China; whether he is aware that at the meeting of the ratepayers on 25th April, 1925, held with the object of passing a by-law to give the Shanghai Municipal Council powers to introduce factory legislation, the meeting failed for lack of a quorum owing to the absence of the British voters, and that the British voters constitute a majority in the settlement; and whether, in view of this fact and the consequent absence of any factory legislation or labour protection regulation, he will use his powers under the China Order in Council in 1925, by which British laws are made applicable to British subjects in China, to see that British factory owners in China are not exempt from laws to which they are subject in this country?


The meeting of ratepayers of the International Settlement at Shanghai on the 15th April, 1925, failed, for lack of a quorum, to pass the Child Labour By-law. British voters constitute a majority of the settlement and a larger proportion of them attended the meeting than of any other nationality. A further attempt was made at the instance of the British Consul-General to secure a quorum for another special meeting on the 2nd of June, 1925, but serious rioting in the settlement on that day prevented a quorum from assembling and political conditions have since rendered it inadvisable to make any further attempt to introduce such legislation. It is unfortunately not practicable, for a variety of technical reasons, to apply British factory legislation to British subjects in China.