Recent events in China (July)

Taxis strikes, environmental protests, sit-ins and the aftermath of other events previously reported on libcom.

Two taxi strikes in the last week, in north and south east China. One in Heilongjiang:

http://www.tibetanreview.net/news.php?cat=2&&id=3949
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-07/30/content_11797814.htm

And a more aggressive one in Zhejiang:

http://www.tibetanreview.net/news.php?cat=2&&id=3926
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-07/29/content_11794282.htm
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-07/29/content_11794062.htm
http://english.cri.cn/6909/2009/07/28/1221s504917.htm
http://english.cri.cn/6909/2009/07/28/195s504866.htm
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-07/28/content_8482821.htm

There has also been a recent successful protest over cadmium pollution:

http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2009/07/1000-protest-over-china-chemical-plant-pollution-residents/
http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2009/08/china-closes-factory-after-cadmium-pollution-protest/

The increased levels of pollution all over China has resulted to increased levels of lead in childrens blood. Some companies have been cashing in on this, but in Sichuan it backfired when they used one needle to test 600 children, one of which was AIDS positive. Parents then stormed the town hall:

http://www.hkhkhk.com/engpro/messages/2687.html

Former workers in Shenzhen, one of the symbols of China's growth in the last two decades, have staged a sit-in strike to demand greater compensation after contracting black lung. Coverage seems to be fairly sympathetic:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-07/31/content_8496199.htm
http://www.clb.org.hk/en/node/100533/

Whilst the recent increase in "mass incidents" has in some places led to authorities giving in to protests very quickly (such as the cadmium pollution protest) in others events in Xinjiang have spurred on a tougher stance. In Shishou (see report here for details on what happened there) there have been a number of arrests of rioters along with the dismissal of the local CCP secretary and official in charge of law enforcement:

http://www.hkhkhk.com/engpro/messages/2688.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSPEK344874
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iumfVZ4WG02nmfqFHRUXkkdc5vxgD99LF2HO0

Meanwhile the state media has started to blame incompetent authorities rather than the traditional "outside agitators":

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/29/china-blames-officials-riots
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/KH04Ad01.html
http://www.upiasia.com/Politics/2009/08/05/chinese_officials_must_please_the_people/6425/

And finally more details on the Tonghua Steel riot:

http://english.caijing.com.cn/2009-07-31/110219007.html
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2009-08/06/content_8531582.htm
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-08/05/content_11832180.htm
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-07/31/content_8495806.htm

Older reports from other sources:

http://www.clb.org.hk/en/node/100520
http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2009/07/one-killed-in-china-steel-riot/
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/278952,protesting-chinese-steelworkers-kill-manager-clash-with-police.html
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jioPQNV87uBjYSGuPr-LgcBJNdiAD99LC8900
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2009/0727/1224251385324.html
http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/27/killing-ends-takeover-of-steel-group-in-china/
http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSPEK110881
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/27/china-steel-workers-boss-beaten
http://chinaworker.info/en/content/news/796/

Posted By

Spartacus
Aug 8 2009 10:02

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husunzi
Aug 10 2009 09:26

Good post! I'll have to keep an eye on your blog.

Steven.
Aug 17 2009 14:34

More recent events here:

Quote:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-08/16/content_8575428.htm
Worker protest blocks China steel takeover

BEIJING: China was forced to halt the privatisation of a state-owned steel firm after a protest by thousands of workers who said they had not received fair pay, state media reported.

It was the second time in less than a month that workers have been able to halt the privatisation of a Chinese steel plant as Beijing tries to overhaul the sprawling and inefficiently run industry.

Last month, a crowd assaulted and killed an executive who was managing the acquisition of state-owned Tonghua Steel in northeast Jilin province.
The latest protest was in central Henan province, where workers at state-owned Linzhou Steel Corporation opposed a proposed take-over by Fengbao Iron & Steel Co. Ltd, a private firm, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The demonstration began on Tuesday and only ended on Saturday after a government mediation team promised to temporarily call off the deal, Xinhua said.

The workers demanded higher compensation for those who had lost jobs as well as unpaid wages over the course of the restructuring of Linzhou Steel, which began in August 2008, the news agency said.

Linzhou Steel, established in 1969, has 5,122 workers and pensioners on its regular payroll, of whom 2,995 were still working, Xinhua said. The plant produces roughly 400,000 tonnes of pig iron and 100,000 tonnes of cement a year.

China, the world's top producer and consumer of steel, has been trying to consolidate the industry, but many local governments have resisted top-down mergers over fears about throwing people out of work and sparking unrest.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-08/15/content_8574784.htm

Steel workers protesting against takeover

ZHENGZHOU: Hundreds of steel workers are protesting against the purchase of their plant by a private company in Henan Province.

Workers of the Linzhou Steel Corporation (LSC) have gathered outside the factory, pressing for a suspension of the purchase and demanding higher compensation and the resolution of issues concerning benefits and unpaid wages during the plant's restructuring, witnesses said.

Witnesses said police in Linzhou City, which comes under the administration of Anyang City, were trying to disperse the crowds.

It followed a mass protest that began on Wednesday at the site and ended at 3 am Saturday, said Liu Haiying, director with the publicity department of Linzhuo.

The workers allegedly held an official of the local state-owned assets supervision and administration (SASAC) branch in a room on Wednesday.

The state-owned LSC, established in the 1970s, has more than 3,000 employees.

Though the steel plant is in Anyang City, authorities in Puyang, which was formed from part of Anyang, administer its operations.

Restructuring of the plant along commercial lines began in 2008. However, employees had launched a number of protests since then demanding unpaid salaries or resolution of administrative problems.

The plant was sold to an unnamed private iron and steel company in an auction last month, triggering mass demonstration as workers demanded for higher compensation for possible layoffs.

A mediation team, comprising party and government officials, suspended the takeover deal after negotiations with workers and promised to listen to their opinions on LSC's future reform.

However, the buying company had insisted the deal was conducted legally and should be fulfilled, said Liu.

China Daily on Saturday reported the private firm purchased LSC on July 24 for less than the initial bid at the auction.

Laid-off workers could only get 1,090 yuan (159.5 U.S. dollars) for each year of service they had put in, it said.

The English-language daily said thousands of angry workers had taken to the streets since Wednesday, complaining that the privatization was a move to marginalize and "sell them out" to fill the pockets of "the rich and the powerful."

The newspaper said armed police were deployed on Friday to disperse the crowds.
Liu declined to comment on the newspaper reports.

The auction was on the same day as a protest erupted at a steel factory in the northeastern province of Jilin, where workers beat the newly appointed general manager to death.

Chen Guojun, general manager of state-owned Tonghua Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., was killed during a protest against a proposed merger by about 1,000 workers on July 24.

Chen was appointed by Beijing-based Jianlong Heavy Machinery Group, the company planning to buy Tonghua.

Workers feared wage cuts and layoffs if Jianlong, one of the largest private steelmakers in China, took control of Tonghua by increasing its stake in the plant to 65 percent from 36 percent.

The incident forced Jianlong to terminate its merger plans and the leadership of Tonghua to reshuffle.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-08/15/content_8573416.htm

Armed cops out to end steel workers' standoff

ANYANG, Henan: Local authorities deployed armed police in Anyang, Henan province, on Friday to stop thousands of angry workers of a steel plant from protesting against the takeover of their factory by a private company.

The Linzhou Steel Corporation (LSC) workers have been demonstrating and patrolling the factory gates along with their supporters for the past four days.

Witnesses said policemen have attempted to break through their lines "several times".
The workers are reportedly holding hostage an official of the local State-owned assets supervision and administration (SASAC), surnamed Dong.

Though the steel plant is in Anyang, authorities in Puyang, which was carved out of Anyang a few years ago, control its operations.

Chen Quanguo, a deputy governor of Henan reached Anyang on Friday to clear the "misgivings" of the workers, a senior city official told China Daily.

The LSC, a 30-year-old State-owned enterprise with 5,122 employees, was sold to a private firm without the workers' consent on July 24, the very day a similar protest erupted in a steel factory in Jilin province where workers lynched the newly appointed general manager.

Inside sources confirmed the LSC was sold for about 64 million yuan ($9.4 million) less than the initial bid at the auction.

Massive layoffs followed the takeover, with the workers getting only 1,090 yuan ($159.5) for each year of service they had put in.

The workers allege that attempts to privatize the factory had continued on for years, and in the end it was sold off for less than its value.

Most of the workers see the privatization as a move to marginalize and "sell them out" to fill the pockets of the rich and the powerful.

In March, more than 1,000 LSC workers tried to resist the privatization by blocking the streets and shutting off the factory for days.

In July, the SASAC official of Puyang responded to the incident in an interview with the People's Daily online, saying the workers' demand for more compensation "has no legal basis".

An LSC veteran who uses the pseudonym "aybls2008", wrote in a post on the popular portal, Tianya.cn: "I've been with the LSC for more than two decades, and all I got was 20,000 yuan and a letter asking me to leave."