Tag Archives: China

( A three week strike involving 5,000 workers at an electronics company in Shenzhen, China, has ended after the bosses agreed to a 20% hike in pay. The strike started on the 31st October after the factory owners, ASM materials, announced – without consultation with the unions – that it would be relocating elements of its production outside of Shenzhen. Thousands of workers walked off the job, demanding a wage rise of 3,000 Yuan a month, and a compensation package for re-location.

An understandably cynical spokesperson for the workers said that:


“The company would always claw back any gains made by the employees when the minimum wage in Shenzhen was increased. For example, we used to have a 1,000 Yuan basic salary plus 500 Yuan in subsidies, but after the minimum wage was raised to 1,200 Yuan, the company raised the basic salary accordingly, but slashed the subsidy by 200 Yuan.”

There has been widespread local media interest in the story, which led to a solidarity protest by trade unionists across the border in Hong Kong at ASM’s company headquarters.

Although falling short of their initial demands, the workers are said to be pleased that they have won a 20% pay increase and an accommodation allowance for those who are prepared to relocate, and a compensation package for those who do not wish to move.

One of the workers involved in the strike wrote on a campaign blog that:


“The strike and protest not only got us a pay rise of 20%, more importantly, it also showed the workers how to defend their rights.”

Many of the workers are planning on donating their pay rise to several colleagues who had been dismissed by the bosses for their role in organising the strike.


 (TWN, AFP)  – November 20, 2011 BEIJING – More than 7,000 workers went on strike at a southern Chinese factory making New Balance, Adidas and Nike shoes, clashing with police in a protest over layoffs and wage cuts, a rights group said.

Dozens of workers were injured on Thursday as police tried to break the strikers’ blockade of the main road in the factory town near Dongguan in Guangdong province, China Labor Watch said in a statement late Friday.

The strike at the Yucheng factory in Huangjiang township took place in the wake of layoffs last month of 18 managers, a move seen by workers as a preparation for the factory’s relocation, the New York-based group said.
One of the fired managers told the China Business News his departure was part of a plan to shift production north to Jiangxi province to save on rising costs in the Pearl River Delta around Dongguan, a key manufacturing center.
The strike was the latest in a series of incidents involving labor disputes and perceived social injustices in Guangdong, known as the workshop of the world for the tens of millions of migrant workers who toil in factories there.
Workers at the Yucheng factory were also angered by the recent elimination of performance bonuses and a ban on the overtime they said they need to meet the cost of living.


Post image for Thousands of Chinese revolt against state authority

Beijing fears an uprising of the masses as angry men set fire to police cars, attack officials and build barricades in the southwest of China.

Originally published in German in Der Spiegel

BEIJNG – In southwest China, in the early hours of Friday, August 12th, thousands of people were engaged in violent confrontations with the police. As the state news agency Xinhua reported, the protests began in the Qianxi district in Guizhou Province on Thursday evening. According to a report by a government news channel, angry protesters put cars on fire and built street barricades. At least ten policemen were injured in the riots, the report says. An official radio station reported that the riots erupted after a driver, who was parked wrong, got into an argument with city employees.

No pictures of the incident have been officially released, but photos, allegedly made during the night, are shown on the Chinese-language Canyu website. A crowd can be seen standing around a damaged police vehicle, the car is upside down, the windows are smashed. Another photo shows thousands of people gathered in a square, some filming or taking pictures with cell phones. Something is burning brightly at an intersection, presumably a car wreck. However, we can not confirm that the photos actually show the protests in Qianxi.

Xinhua reports that ten people who allegedly attacked the vehicles have been arrested. Ten cars were destroyed and five others were set on fire.

Since the beginning of the year, the Chinese government has been fearing that the Arab spring could spill over into their own country. There have been repeated clashes in recent months, but little known details emerge out of the authoritarian country.

In late July, it came to riots after the death of a disabled peddler in another town in Guizhou. The death of the one-legged fruit seller was blamed on so-called Chengguan officials. Urban security forces, who are generally very unpopular in China, are repeatedly being accused of excessive force. And even after a train accident in which several people died , there were mass protests. So far, however, no organized movement seems to have been formed.

According to a study, there were nearly 90,000 such incidents in China in 2009 alone. The study was created by two scholars at Nankai University in North China. Other estimates are much higher.

According to Radio Free Asia, which is based in Washington, the protests in China also continue to spread via the Internet — despite widespread information access barriers by state censors. Whoever went onto the microblogging website Weibo and searched for keywords from the region Qianxi to read the morning news found the site blocked because of “important legal arrangements.” But some postings came through, one citing the news agency Reuters: “In truth, China experiences riots worse than those in England every single week.”

The Beijing regime systematically suppresses critics, including the human rights activist Wang Lihong, who is currently due in court for participating in a demonstration. He risks several years in prison.

by Jérôme E. Roos on August 18, 2011


 ( Ai Wei Wei, the prominent artist and outspoken critic of the Chinese government whose arrest on April 3, 2011, spawned international demonstrations and outcry, has been released on bail. Via cell phone, the previously vocal artist and prolific tweeter reportedly said :”I’m released, I’m home, I’m fine… In legal terms, I’m — how do you say? — on bail. So I cannot give any interviews. But I’m fine.” The Wall Street Journal reports that the artist has been banned from talking to the media for one year as a condition of his release — that includes Twitter posts.

 According to Xinhua, a Chinese state-run news outlet, the Beijing police said that Ai Wei Wei had been released “because of his good attitude on confessing his crimes as well as a chronic disease he suffers from.” His charges: tax evasion for his company, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. No word on how much tax is owed.

In recent years, Ai Wei Wei became increasingly linked to political activism in China, through both his actions and his art. Aside from his arrest, he is perhaps most famous among international audiences for his exhibition “Sunflower Seeds,” which ran from October 2010 to early May 2011 at the Tate Modern in London. The exhibit, featuring 100 million sunflower seeds each hand-crafted from porcelain and painted by Chinese artists, played on themes of Chinese mass production and individuality.

His work is also currently showing in New York: “Ai Wei Wei: New York Photographs 1983-1993“, at the Asia Society, runs though August 14, 2011. “Circle of Animals: Zodiac Head” will be at the Grand Army Plaza and Pulitzer Fountain through July 15.

Amnesty International and several Western media outlets suggest Ai Wei Wei’s release is a calculated, particularly well-timed face-saving move, coming just two days before Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s trip to Hungary, Britain, and Germany, countries whose governments and artists have been largely sympathetic to Ai’s cause. Amnesty International also calls for the release of four of the Ai’s other associates, who were jailed after Ai was detained.

by Zoe So


(eagainst) Two people were injured in a suspected revenge bombing at a government building in China, state media said on Saturday, the second such attack attributed to disgruntled locals in recent weeks.

The detained suspect, a man surnamed Liu, allegedly set off the explosion in the northern city of Tianjin on Friday out of ‘revenge against society,’ Xinhua news agency reported.

Two people were slightly injured in the incident at a municipal government building in the Hexi district of Tianjin, a major city about 100km (60 miles) southwest of Beijing, the report said.

Calls to the Hexi district government offices went unanswered on Saturday.

China sees thousands of protests and other public disturbances each year, often linked to anger over official corruption, government abuses and the illegal seizure of land for development.

Bomb attacks have been increasingly frequent in recent years and are typically carried out by individuals angry over perceived injustices, business disputes or other pressures associated with China’s rapid modernization.

by Julia Riber Pitt


(Amnesty.orgAuthorities in China must clarify the current status and reveal the whereabouts of a lawyer and a journalist who have gone missing in the past week, Amnesty International said today as a clampdown on activists appeared to be widening.

Li Xiongbing, a prominent Beijing human rights lawyer known for taking on politically sensitive cases, has been missing since yesterday after he was telephoned by police.

Zhang Jialong, 23, a former Caijing magazine journalist who has covered the detention of acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei, went missing on 28 April after reportedly being approached by a person claiming to represent Beijing police.

“The sudden disappearance of these activists is alarming; the authorities must immediately provide clarification as to Li Xiongbing and Zhang Jialong’s whereabouts. If they have been detained for their legitimate human rights work, they must be released,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

“This is part of a wider trend of repression of lawyers, writers and government critics; the authorities are trying to intimidate and silence anyone who writes about sensitive subjects or who dares to defend victims of human rights violations,” he added.

The families of Li Xiongbing and Zhang Jialong have received no formal notification from the authorities about their detention or whereabouts.

Li Xiongbing’s wife, Wu Haiying, says she last heard from him on Wednesday afternoon, when he called to say he would be away for some days. Wu Haiying has since been unable to reach her husband by telephone.

Zhang Jialong has also reported on the aftermath of the Sanlu tainted milk scandal according to the International Federation of Journalists. Six children died and 300,000 became ill from drinking infant formula tainted with melamine in 2008.

Li Xiongbing has represented Gongmeng, a legal aid organization, and Aizhixing, an AIDS NGO, which has faced bureaucratic restrictions and police warnings. Its director Wan Yanhai went into exile in 2010 to escape government persecution.

Since online calls for a Chinese ‘Jasmine Revolution’ inspired by people’s movements in the Middle East and North Africa began circulating in late February, the Chinese authorities have rounded up dozens of activists, lawyers and bloggers.

Human rights lawyer Li Fangping returned home Wednesday after disappearing for five days. He has declined to talk about the events of the past week.

Writer and human rights activist Ding Fangguan (known as Gu Chuan) and lawyers Jiang Tianyong and Teng Biao were released last month but remain under illegal house arrest.

Ding Fangguan has not yet been able or willing to describe in detail how he was treated during the 62 days he was held in incommunicado detention.

“The attacks on lawyers in particular signal a big step back from the Chinese government’s commitment to the rule of law and the development of the legal profession,” Sam Zarifi said.

Among the more than 200,000 lawyers in China, only a small proportion is willing to take the risk of representing victims of human rights violations. These lawyers constitute an important part of the weiquan (‘rights defense’) movement, which uses Chinese law to protect the rights of individuals.

Like other human rights defenders in China, weiquan lawyers have been harassed, assaulted, kept under surveillance and prosecuted for protecting the rights of others.

The Chinese authorities have also imposed arbitrary administrative sanctions, such as fines, on law firms that employ weiquan lawyers.


( The detention of China’s most famous artist and political critic Ai Weiwei is a troubling development in a widening crackdown on dissent which has seen dozens of activists detained over the last few months, Amnesty International said today.

Police detained Ai Weiwei at Beijing airport on 3 April.  His wife and several members of his studio staff were also briefly detained on the weekend.

“Ai Weiwei was not even involved in any call for ‘Jasmine’ protests.  There seems to be no reason whatsoever for his detention, other than that the authorities are trying to broadcast the message that China’s time for open dissent has come to an end,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Director for the Asia-Pacific.

Since online calls for Chinese ‘Jasmine Revolution’ protests inspired by people’s movements in the Middle East and North Africa began circulating in late February, the Chinese authorities have rounded up dozens of activists, lawyers and bloggers.

“We’ve already seen the chilling effect the ‘Jasmine Revolution’-related arrests have had on Chinese activists and netizens over the past month. Holding Ai Weiwei takes this to another level,” said Sam Zarifi.

“If the authorities are so bold as to grab this world-renowned artist in broad daylight at Beijing airport, it’s frightening to think how they might treat other, lesser known dissidents.”