Protests in south-east China force repeal of new tax law

Protesters in Jiangxi province blocked the highway and overturned police cars

The Chinese state news service, Xinhua, reported on the 16th of June that violent protests in the south-east province of Jiangxi had forced authorities to repeal a new tax law.

The government of Nankang city had planned to increase the tax on furniture sales from 15th of June. Though a major industry in Nankang, furniture sales has a low profit margin, and the new tax law would have increased the tax burden, forcing many stores to close.

On the 15th of June at 10a.m., over 10,000 people gathered in front of Nankang City Hall, and the furniture mall on Highway 105. When the police arrived, people refused to disperse and ten police cars were overturned. Later that afternoon, the demonstrators moved to the Nankang exit on Ganyua Highway, paralyzing traffic in the Nankang area, and overturning more police cars.

The city government issued orders to immediately terminate all measures related to the tax law, and announced the decision through radio, television, text message, and the Internet. According to the report, Su Rong, Secretary of Jiangxi Province Committee, requested all city officials to use every means of communication to tell the people of the region that the objectionable law had been repealed, to avoid further protests.

Authorities in China rarely compromise, analysts say. That they did in this case shows that high-ranking Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials are growing worried that local protests might spread into nationwide unrest.

On that same day, Xinhua also reported the not-guilty verdict in the tempestuous Deng Yujiao rape case. Deng had been charged with manslaughter for killing a Party official she claimed was trying to rape her. Originally Deng was judged guilty of using excessive force in self-defense.

Posted By

Jul 10 2009 12:45


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Jul 10 2009 14:54

Was this protest led by workers, or by furniture business owners?

Jul 10 2009 23:42

Sounds like it was led by furniture-business owners, and is therefore possibly petit-bourgeois in nature. If the workers came out, the came out in alliance with the petit-bourgeoisie either out of ideological confusion, or because of a recognition that higher taxes on this low-profit-margin industry might mean increased cost of the commodities as well as wage-cuts to preserve the profit margin in this industry.

It would definitively not make any sense for the workers to be this irate at an increase in taxation due to any workers being opposed to taxation in and of itself, but this does not prevent it's being possible through ideological obfuscation and confusion.

Another possibility is that although it was the petit-bourgeoisie who were upset about this and went into the streets, bringing along with them simultaneously the proletariat as totally subservient to them, the proletariat seized control of the demonstrations and ran riot in furious desperation due to the terrible oppression which the proletariat is ground under in China.

Jul 11 2009 01:49

yes, i should have made that clearer in the article: it was definitely small business owners, possibly with some workers involved in this. what was interesting though was the speed that authorities caved in. also, as the shishou incident showed, it seems often in china the actual trigger can be irrelevant, as everyone comes out to vent their anger at the authorities.

Jul 11 2009 08:04

I'd assumed that workers would have joined in the march because closing stores would mean unemployment.

Jul 11 2009 16:20

Wow I must have written my response completely high. I stand by my points, but my English there is really bad ... sorry!