Class struggles in China

Submitted by Anon on 5 February, 2004 - 5:18

A round-up produced by the China Labour Bulletin.

Teachers' protest in Guangdong Province is violently dispersed

From 1 to 3 December more than 800 community teachers protested in front of the municipal government offices in Leizhou, Guangdong. The protestors were demanding that the government fulfil the promise it made in 2000 to transfer them into the higher paid classification of public teachers.

Some teachers said they had not been paid since June 2003. Others complained that the wages of public teachers in Leizhou were much higher than community teachers. For example, a public teacher earns around 900 yuan every month, whereas a community teacher earns only 250 yuan.

The local government sent the police in to attack the protests. Protesters said one pregnant protestor miscarried during the violent dispersal of the protestors on 3 December.

Taxi drivers protests in Changchun City, Jilin Province - one protestor beaten

500 taxi drivers in Changchun have been gathering in front of the Shuangyang district government since 16 December demanding reductions in various charges and levies on taxis.

The protest was triggered by the Shuangyang Government's decision authorizing three public minibus lines within the district and awarding all three routes to one private company. The company also received a three-year exemption from all taxes. The new minibus operator can set the fares at the low rate of 50 cents per person as compared to the higher cost of a taxi at around two Yuan per person.

Many of the taxi drivers are retrenched workers from previously state-owned enterprises, or migrant workers. Many have borrowed money to buy their taxis and are heavily in debt.

During the protest in December one taxi driver was apprehended by the police for "talking too much". According to sources, he tried to run away but was pushed to the ground, breaking his leg in the process. He was then beaten by officers.

Farm workers protest against restructuring

More than 100 protesters staged a sit-in on 24 December in front of the Paragon Hotel, Xiangtan, where a celebratory party in honour of the 110th anniversary of Mao Zedong's birth was being held.

The protestors were workers from the former Xiangtan Hongqi Farm, who were deeply affected by the massive restructuring of the farm. The workers decided to hold the protest at the Paragon hotel because the hotel's director was also the leader of the Farm. In view of the high profile nature of the demonstration police officers were quickly sent to the hotel and the protest was violently dispersed. Scores of workers were apprehended and it was reported that some 16 were arrested.

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