Workers' struggles in China

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Jun 8 2011 11:03
Workers' struggles in China

ok, i thought i would start this thread to post and discuss news of events in china to supplement my blog of news from east asia, as this might allow more discussion, bring new resources to attention etc. and also be updated more frequently. personally i'm going to be very strict and only post stuff such as strikes or major incidents rather than every interesting thing that pops up about china.

yesterday news came out about a clash between migrant workers and police over wages in the southern province of guangdong, here are the links i've come across:

(link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7) (link 8) (link 9) (link 10) (link 11)

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Jun 13 2011 09:44

in the last couple of days there have been some more reports on the incident above: (link 12) (link 13) (link 14) (link 15)

but there have also been two other major riots reported, one in hubei province (central china) over the death in custody of a popular local official went for several days: (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7) (link 8)

the second was in guangdong, the same province as the incident mentioned in the first post, also apparently involving migrant workers: (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5)

pictures and video from both:

(link)

ernie
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Jun 13 2011 16:43

Sound a great idea, it will be very good to have such information.
I think someone from The Commune has been doing a speaking tour on the class struggle in China, may be someone could put a link up here to the presentation if it is available. I have been told by a comrade that the presentation is very interesting.

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Jun 13 2011 17:23

I know of someone who could be going to that part of the world soon and actually turned down a job in one of the towns mentioned.

Obviously getting involved in political activity would be problematic for many reasons. In what way could a foreigner realistically get involved in anything there?

Sorry if this goes slightly off topic, but I was just wondering about the hypothetical situation smile

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Jun 13 2011 21:30

Yeah, there are a few groups of anarchists dotted about China and a few radical foreigners who are in touch with them and do odd bits activity with them (meetings and stuff). A couple of them have posted here in the past so maybe they'll see this and post their comments.

Not sure how a foreigner could really be active beyond being in touch local anarchists and helping to forge links between them and radicals back home. You stick out like a sore thumb anyway so I'd imagine your activity outside of that would go noticed (though the Chinese government is apparently hotter on human rights groups than radical ones).. anyway, short of mass waves of immigration, I suppose it's always got to be down to the locals to build a movement, not lefty tourists..

One thing I did hear of though were some radical-types giving cameras to migrant workers to document their lives and then use the pictures to spread info, experiences etc. I thought that was pretty cool. There also was (possibly still is?) a social centre run by a group of Chinese anarchists which local young people came to and had meetings, gigs etc.

Apart from that, not much. I heard of one Westerner getting a job on a construction site (sleeping on site with the workers) but I don't think he did any organising, was doing it for something he was writing and it happened pretty randomly.

Sorry, that's about the blandest post on libcom for a while.. could probably have just written "some people did things.. but in China" and been done with it.. wink

Harrison
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Jun 13 2011 22:02

can't you get disappeared for political activity in China?

On another note, i watched a Harvey lecture yesterday (talk on Marx's method), and he observed that the Chinese state is allowing wage rises as part of it's Keynesian program to lift itself out of recession (building shitloads of infrastruture etc) - the exact opposite policy to 'austerity'. Presumably this is an attempt to diffuse class struggle, however i speculate this might build the confidence of those who went on strike and won...

Samotnaf
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Jun 14 2011 04:58

Just posted this up, not having seen this thread.
Btw, I've been told quite a few times (never checked it up) that before Mao took power in 1949, the anarchist movement in China was (on paper at least) a million strong.

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Jun 14 2011 07:24

yep, just saw your post samotnaf good work. here're the latest reports i've found.

first, a few more on the one in hubei province: (link 9) (link 10)

and plenty more on the one in guangdong which continued until yesterday, though the last report or two imply that it's over for now: (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7) (link 8) (link 9) (link 10) (link 11) (link 12) (link 13) (link 14) (link 15) (link 16) (link 17)

a couple more reports on those two have mentioned a third, smaller protest in beijing itself: (link 1) (link 2) (link 3)

and in addition there's been news of a strike at a tyre factory: (link 1)

after all the surprises of events in the middle east, there's nothing journalists like more than predicting the imminent overthrow of the chinese communist party, so of course a few articles have already appeared claiming this is the beginning of the end: link 1 link 2. when things do occasionally seem to be kicking off (such as a year or two ago with the auto strikes) it's amusing to watch them trying to marry their desire for the final victory in the cold war with the realisation that if china did fall it likely make the gfc so far look like boom...

oh, and if you were wondering about the bombings mentioned here and there in those reports, here are a couple more indepth reports on the tianjin ones: link 1 link 2 - there are links to stories about the ones last month in my last blog post. i also saw this report implying that explosives are readily available throughout china!

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Jun 14 2011 07:49

with regards to what political activity a foreigner could get involved in in china, i think ed's covered it pretty well. i actually think there is a need to encourage anarchists/communists/whatever who are thinking of travelling to go to china and the rest of asia and make contact with comrades there, since if you feel isolated in the uk or wherever that must be nothing compared to them!

but anything more than meeting them and opening communication for the moment would be dangerous i think - not so much for the foreigner, you'd probably just get deported unless you really pissed them off, but for the poor buggers you'd talk to, because as ed said, you will be noticed. disappearances for political activity do also happen, yes. it would be almost impossible in any case unless you're fluent in the language - sadly there aren't too many anarchists who are (i'm not!).

yes, the chinese state has made it a policy to encourage a certain amount of wage rises - initially this was meant to be to encourage domestic spending and reduce dependence on exports, but over the last year inflation has increased so much (some food products jumping by 20-30% at a time) that they basically have to let wages go up to stop people rioting. hasn't always worked, obviously!

for info on the pre-mao anarchist movement, there's this. from what i understand there was a huge anarchist movement in china (although a million strong in a country of 400-600 million as it would have been then is not quite as impressive as it sounds...) up until the mid to late 1920s, when the civil war really got underway, and after a lot of repression (mostly from the kmt, not just the ccp) it dissipated. many of the activists then either joined the ccp or the kmt. apparently even mao was an anarchist for a short time!

Harrison
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Jun 14 2011 16:49

i do remember reading on the blurb of 'Worker's Councils' that Anton Pannekoek was active in worker's councils that cropped up in China at one point.

Thanks for the many links

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Jun 17 2011 07:24

the xintang things seems to have calmed down for now, so i'll stop posting all the articles declaring it the beginning of the end of the ccp. but a couple more "mass incidents" have come to light.

Power Line Dispute (link 1)

Chinese workers protest lead poisoning (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5)

Unrest as hundreds protest against Taizhou 'land grabs' (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5)

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Jun 21 2011 12:08

some more on taizhou: (link 6) (link 7) (link 8)

i generally steer clear of tibet related stuff as it can veer dangerously towards national liberationist style stuff, but there have been some protests by tibetan truckers: (link 1) (link 2) (link 3)

and workers at a watch factory have walked off the job: (link 1) (link 2)

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Jul 5 2011 02:18

went away for a week so couldn't post these, but a bit more has been happening:

Strike At China Factory That Makes Bags For Burberry Turns Violent (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7)

Taxi strike hits central Chinese city (link 1)

Army Veterans Protest Over Welfare (link 1) (link 2)

And it's kicked off in Inner Mongolia again (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7)

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Aug 4 2011 13:59

appologies for not keeping up with this, put it down to the shock of entering wage slavery for the first time in almost a year...most things seem to have kicked off in the last week or so anyway. first, last month:

1: Thousands March in Hong Kong (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7) (link 8) (link 9) (link 10) (link 11) (link 12)
6: Beijing Flooded With Petitions (link 1)
8: Anger Over Water Shortage (link 1)
15: Villager Crushed by Excavator in Jiangxi Province Land Dispute (link 1) (link 2)
25: Villagers Tie up Police, Douse with Gasoline, Over Land Conflict (link 1) (link 2)
25: Fresh Protests in Inner Mongolia (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6)
26: Public Fury Follows Chinese Rail Disaster (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7)
27: China Fruit Seller Death Sparks Riot in Guizhou (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7) (link 8) (link 9) (link 10)
31: Ex-Students Protest Broken Pact (link 1)

and then monday two taxi strikes:

Shanghai (link 1) (link 2) and Hangzhou (link 1) (link 2) (link 3)

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Aug 13 2011 05:09

Some more on those strikes:
(link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7)

Railway workers stage strike in Changsha (link 1)
Judicial Corruption Protesters Willing to Jump to Their Deaths (link 1) (link 2)
Strikes by taxi drivers spreading in China (link 1)

and after chinese state media did some gloating editorials about the uk riots, there have been a couple of big ones over there:
Ten Thousand Riot Over Incinerator Construction in China (link 1)
Riot erupts in southwest China town (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7) (link 8)

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Aug 13 2011 08:52

seems i missed another one:

Hong Kong rights group says 10 injured in north China clash (link 1) (link 2)

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Aug 15 2011 12:30

maybe china's kicking off more than usual, or western media are even keener than usual to report unrest in their arch rival after events in the uk, but either way there's been plenty of reports in the last few days.

more on the riot in guizhou:

(link 9) (link 10) (link 11) (link 12) (link 13)

and another major protest:
China Says Will Shut Plant as Thousands Protest (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7) (link 8) (link 9) (link 10) (link 11) (link 12) (link 13) (link 14) (link 15)

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Nov 27 2011 11:20

something of a strike wave seems to be developing in china at the moment:

3: Ten transport strikes reported in the last month (link 1)
11: Police Disperse Rally of 3000 Laid Off Bank Employees in Beijing (link 1)
16: Workers at Pepsi bottling plants protest takeover (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6)
18: Around 7000 workers in Dongguan stage mass protests over wage cuts and dismissals (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7) (link 8) (link 9)
22: China bra factory workers strike (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5)
24: Financial Times: China labour unrest flares as orders fall (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7) (link 8) (link 9) (link 10)
25: Factory workers from Apple and IBM supplier block highway to protest labor ... (link 1) (link 2) (link 3) (link 4) (link 5) (link 6) (link 7) (link 8) (link 9) (link 10) (link 11) (link 12) (link 13)

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Nov 27 2011 13:27

The Workers’ Movement in China
2009-2011