Chinese authorities see U.S. consulates as “hostile forces” that conduct “infiltration and sabotage” activities on Chinese soil and have ordered officials to monitor key U.S. diplomats, according to a leaked document obtained by The Epoch Times. At a time when bilateral relations hit a historical low, the document from Leizhou city of China’s southeastern Guangdong Province offers a rare glimpse into how the Chinese regime deals with American diplomats. In a four-page “work plan” dated April 2018, the Leizhou Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Bureau described the “U.S. and other Western consulates in China” as key targets that could threaten the region’s political and social stability. All departments and units within the bureau must work to counter such influences, by effectively “blocking [the consulates] from establishing connections with key [Chinese]…
Accreditation body Ethical Clothing Australia has surveyed 34 of its member businesses and found 60 percent of them had seen an increase in new customers and half were selling more online.
“We’re seeing more of a conversation about ethical manufacturing and production,” Ethical Clothing Australia manager Angela Bell told AAP.
“It’s actually quite an exciting time in the industry.”
To capitalise on the momentum, the national accreditation body has created Ethical Clothing Australia Week, starting on Sunday.
Until October 24, there are virtual tours of studios, factories, workshops and videos of behind-the-scenes looks at ethical garment making.
Most garment workers in Australia earn just above the minimum wage, Bell said, and her organisation, which is a joint industry and union initiative, aims to protect their rights.
“When you’re just earning above the minimum wage, then every cent is incredibly important,” she said.
In 2019, the ECA recovered $345,000 (US$234,000) in unpaid superannuation to employees in the Australian clothing industry.
Bell saw a 55-year-old garment worker set up a super account for the first time.
“They can be more prone to exploitation because they’re not going to know their rights,” Bell said.
ECA encourages people to buy local, because cheap clothing brands cannot sell in their price point without exploitation.
Buying ethically produced local clothing could be an adjustment for many, Bell said, because it requires re-thinking what is affordable.
“What is the true cost of clothing?” she said.
If it’s not the customer who pays, then it’s the garment worker or the environment.
Designer for Melbourne brand Remuse, Tamara Leacock, has remained at work through strict lockdowns because she pivoted to making face masks, as did many in the industry.
She said “supply chain awareness” is growing as people consider how their clothing is really made.
This has led to “community focused spending,” she said.
“We’re kind of transitioning into an older model of operating in the sense of keeping funds within the community.
“That mindset is what will help handmade artisan pieces continue to be relevant.”
It takes guts, she says, because operating ethically is more expensive.
“Sometimes I think it’d just be so much easier if I had this made a bit more cheaply and quickly, and then I could really maximise online sales.”
Ethical Clothing Australia Week runs from October 18 to 24.
By Andi Yu
Focus News: Australia’s Ethical Clothing Week Highlights True Cost of Clothing
While the COVID-19 pandemic is still ravaging the world, a series of tuberculosis (TB) outbreaks at a major Chinese university was revealed via social media posts and local media reports. The Epoch Times has also interviewed a few students and obtained internal government documents that indicate local authorities attempted to cover up the TB epidemic. Tuberculosis is a respiratory infectious disease that usually causes lung infection. Those with latent TB infection do not have symptoms. Without proper treatment in time, 10 percent of patients with latent infection will progress to active TB, with a fatality rate of 50 percent, according to the World Health Organization. Jiangsu Normal University Conceals TB Cases Jiangsu Normal University issued a notice on the evening of Oct. 14, stating that from Oct. 10 to 11,…