More protests in China

Hong Kong airport
Hong Kong airport

There have been further protests by workers in China as the economic crisis prompts attacks on conditions, jobs and pay.

Submitted by Django on January 4, 2009

On December 28th ground crew at Hong Kong's international airport walked out in a three-hour protest against cuts to announced bonus payments, grounding flights. The 1,000 workers were employed by Hong Kong Airport Services Ltd. The economic crisis was cited as the reason for the attampted clawbacks by company bosses.

Riot police monitored a protest outside a textile factory in Humen town, Dongguan, on the 29th of December. The protest followed a chef in the factory canteen being "worked to death" after being on shift for 10 days straight.

His family and co-workers objected to the pitiful compensation payment offered by factory bosses and the department of labour, and organised the demonstration. Despite the riot police arriving, the local police attempted to play down the size of the protest in the media, adding nonetheless that "In an economic crisis, such cases happens frequently."

Dongguan saw more protests earlier in December, after workers at the Jianrong Suitcase Factory took to the streets demanding payment of wages after the factory owner shut the factory and fled, an increasingly common event in the city. The workers, who live in dorms inside the factory site, refused to leave after the government offered only 60% of what they were owed. The compound was surrounded by riot police, who attacked the workers when they left the site to protest on the streets. Nonetheless, they managed to resist attempts by riot police to take the site, and saw off an undercover policeman who infiltrated the dormitories. According to an Associated Press report, one worker, called Yang, asked "We work so hard in this factory and then we get beaten by the police. What kind of system is this?" Worn out by the siege, the workers have now left the site.

Dongguan has been rocked by protests as the economic crisis hits its export-led manufacturing industry, and workers attempt to defend themselves against pay cuts, layoffs and the effects of factory owners cutting and running. For libcom news reports on these events, see here. Workers in Shanghai also staged an occupation in early December, reported on Libcom here.



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Submitted by SW on January 6, 2009

See also this news item about how "China faces surging protests and riots in 2009 as rising unemployment stokes discontent, a state-run magazine said in a blunt warning of the hazards to Communist Party control from a sharp economic downturn": click here.