China: hundreds block railway line in benefits protest

Shanghai rail depot
Shanghai rail depot

Residents of Guixi in the Jiangxi province were angry at government plans which would see their wages and benefits cut.

Submitted by Joseph Kay on March 22, 2007

The plans involve placing Guixi under the jurisdiction of the neighbouring district, which may mean a lowering of benefits and state wages for Guixi residents. Protestors blocked two rail connections for around six hours, including the heavily traveled line that runs from Shanghai in the east, cutting through Jiangxi to the southwestern city of Kunming. Numbers of protesters were estimated at 200 with several hundred more onlookers.

Police were called, but there were no reports of arrests or injuries. Blocking railway tracks is a traditional form of protest in China, but can result in lengthy prison sentences for disrupting traffic and communications. The protest is just the latest in a wave of unrest across China as the gap between rich and poor grows.

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