Chinese workers beat capitalist to death

Tonghua Steel workers gather

Workers afraid of privatization beat investor to death.

Thousands of angry steel workers clashed with police during demonstrations against the takeover of their company.

Chen Guojun, the general manager of Jianlong Steel Holding Company, wanted to buy the majority stake in Tonghua Iron and Steel Group. Workers were against the change as they are afraid of job cuts and were reportedly outraged by his huge earnings - over 3 million yuan last year. Steel workers who lost their jobs at Tonghua recently received only 200 yuan compensation.

Workers were protesting on Friday when they learned that Chen was at a meeting there and rushed into the office and beat Chen. He later died.

Workers then demonstrated and clashed with police. They blocked roads and smashed three police cars.

Jianlong, which temporarily controlled Tonghua last year, is attempting to buy Tonghua for the second time. However after Friday's incident, the deal has been scrapped.

Posted By

Jul 26 2009 19:02


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Jul 26 2009 19:01

Sorry, it is a privatization. There was different information in different language sources, hence the confusion.

Jul 26 2009 19:24

Is this in China?

Jul 26 2009 20:08

Yes, that was in China wink

Jul 26 2009 20:59

Oops. Forgot that detail. smile

Jul 26 2009 22:11

where was this reported?

Jul 26 2009 23:29

I have Serbian and Bosnian source if you want...

Jul 27 2009 02:01
Jul 27 2009 02:26

right, thanks

Jul 27 2009 08:54

I think it was reported in many countries. There are some differences though in reports; some said there was a 30,000 person demo but in the first version I read, that demo was only a few thousand and the one with 30,000 was months ago. I was searching the English language press from China.

BTW, I know it's off topic, but there have been lots of recent cases of workers being fucked in privatizations. Jurko probably heard about the case of Nitex workers in Serbia whose textile mill was privatized 2 years ago and haven't been regularly paid since. They've been on strike since November and were blocking administrative offices in Nis on Friday. They were joined by workers from another company which was in a similar situation until the government overturned the privatization.

I don't know how privatizations have been going in China, but I assume badly as there is great potential for corruption and fucking workers - probably much more than in E. Europe, which was bad enough. No analysis of this appears anywhere in the mainstream press in relation to the steel industry, but I wouldn't be surprised if the workers were also protesting against the cronyism and robbery so common in privatizations.

Jul 27 2009 13:06

beat me to it akai! yes, this has been widely reported as can be seen from a google news search along the lines of "china riot". the china labour bulletin also has a report here.

reports on numbers vary from 1-3000 (state media) to 30 000 according to hong kong based human rights groups. it's always difficult to guess at real numbers, but we can assume the state media want to reduce the size so as to paint a picture of a troublesome minority, and those who for whatever reason want to make out that china is on the verge of meltdown.

some reports also give different stories - this one suggests workers hunted chen down, most reports i've read had the workers on strike and then he was sent to tell them to get back to work, and said 25 000 of them would be fired in the next 3 days! either way, the authorities seem pretty scared as nearly every account agrees that the local government ordered the privatisation deal scrapped, and it was only then that workers dispersed and resumed work.

this seems to be a common tactic now - the furniture sales protest i reported a couple of weeks ago was also ended this way. i suppose it stops events spreading in the short term, but i would have thought with the lack of follow up reporting it surely tells people that this is a successful way of settling disputes, so might lead to similar incidents in the future. and this one is more significant i think, as this really does appear to be just workers, not a cross-class event of workers and petit-bourgeois as the other was.

Jul 27 2009 19:47

Posted on a locked thread:

intifada1988 wrote:
I just sent this e-mail to a comrade and noticed that there was nothing on it here so I figured I'd post..

Here's the link to a CNN video that gives some interesting details.

On Friday the Workers apparently decided on a work stoppage and factory occupation. The number of workers at the plant is about 30,000 from most sources I've seen. This implies that mass assemblies would had to have happened in order for the workers to act in a collective manner i.e. work stoppage/occupation. They even erected barricades.

Another interesting point is that CNN says that a "delegation of workers" went to the new factory manager in order to (presumably) open some sort of dialogue. The new manager then demanded the workers return to work, and the workers attacked and beat the manager, possibly even throwing him down a flight of stairs.

The presence of a "delegation of workers" implies that the 30,000 factory workers (possibly in mass assemblies?) went so far as to choose a "delegation" to represent the larger body of workers. And then of course there's the striking militancy of the workers.

I'm assuming that there weren't any trade unions involved, but I don't know much about unions in China. I'm sure that there are state sanction trade unions or something, but none of the articles I've read have implied any union involvement. If that's true I think this is a pretty significant event. Any thoughts?

Jul 27 2009 19:50

In China there is only one trade union, the state union, which doesn't sanction worker direct action.

A minor exception to this is Hong Kong, which still has independent trade unions left over from the days of British rule

Jul 28 2009 00:08

Ok, thanks for that.

So I guess we can conclude that there was no union involvement. The workers at this factory seem to have acted in their own capacity and organized themselves against both the state government and corporate attacks.

Can anyone find any evidence of how the workers were organized? Maybe proof of mass assemblies/discussions and possibly the election of delegates (assuming CNN is correct in saying the workers created a "delegation")?