Legalization Of the Chinese Labour Camp in Serbia

The urbanistic projects of the companies “Penfarm” and “Rakić plast” in the Industrial Zone Southeast in Zrenjanin, right next to the construction site of the Linglong tire factory, are planning an unrecorded labour camp in Europe where people will be kept in containers without basic living conditions. According to the plans presented by the City Administration of Zrenjanin, it is planned to accommodate hundreds of people without food, rest, adequate hygiene and first aid, all in a location that does not provide a minimum of safe environment, and protection from fire.

For some time now, unofficial stories have been heard in Zrenjanin about dozens, and maybe hundreds of unregistered Chinese workers who were brought to the construction site of the Linglong tire factory and were placed in inhumane conditions on neighbouring plots in the Southeast Industrial Zone. The newspaper “Zrenjanin” also wrote about it, and the owner of the company “Rakić plast” confirmed the handing over of a part of the plot to the Chinese.

By announcing public invitations for the presentation of urbanistic projects of the companies “Penfarm” and “Rakić plast”, the plan of facilities in which 520 people will be accommodated in 128 rooms in containers, such stories are confirmed.

This intention is contrary to the law because workers are placed in temporary facilities on the plots that are different form the plots where they will be working, and according to the regulations, temporary facilities can be located and used exclusively for the purpose of building facilities on the same plot.

It is obvious that these facilities already exist and that workers are already staying in them, but not the warehouses in question, but the nearby Linglong tire factory, which grossly violates the regulations of the Republic of Serbia, and this is an attempt to legalize such a situation and actions.

The financier of the urbanistic projects “Penfarm” and “Rakić plast” is China Energy Engineering Group Tianjin Electric Power Construction Co. Ltd. Belgrade branch, a company that also builds a Linglong tire factory.

Based on the established facts, Gradjanski preokret has called on the City Administration of the City of Zrenjanin to respect the legal regulations in the field of spatial and urban planning and to annul all actions taken so far regarding the “Penfarm” and “Rakić Plast” projects.

Gradjanski preokret asks the Serbian government whether the Chinese company Linglong, its subcontractors and contractors enjoy extraterritorial rights in Serbia in terms of hiring and housing their workers and calls on the prosecutor’s office and the competent labour inspection to immediately check the existence of a labour camp in the Southeast Industrial Zone in Zrenjanin, where the builders of the tire factory live and work in, and whether it is in question forced labour.