Bankruptcies, unemployment and social unrest are spreading more widely in China than officially reported, according to independent research that paints an ominous picture for the world economy.
- On January 15 there were pitched battles at a textile factory in the nearby city of Dongguan between striking workers and security guards.
- On January 16, about 100 auxiliary security officers, known in Chinese as Bao An, staged a street protest after they were sacked by a state-owned firm in Shenzhen, a boom town adjoining Hong Kong.
- About 1,000 teachers confronted police on the streets of Yangjiang on January 5, demanding their wages from the local authorities.
- In late December, 2,000 workers at a Singapore-owned firm in Shanghai held a wage protest and thousands of farmers staged 12 days of mass demonstrations over economic problems outside the city.
- In southern China, hundreds of workers blocked a highway to protest against pay cuts imposed by managers. At several factories, there were scenes of chaos as police were called to stop creditors breaking in to seize equipment in lieu of debts.
- In northern China, television journalists were punished after they prepared a story on the occupation of a textile mill by 6,000 workers. Furious local leaders in the city of Linfen said the news item would “destroy social stability” and banned it.
- A legal advocate for migrant workers, Xiao Qingshan, told a tale of violent intimidation by the state in collusion with unscrupulous businessmen. On January 9, Xiao said, 14 security officers from the local labour bureau broke into his office . . . “That evening I was ambushed near the office by five strangers who forced a black bag over my head and then threw me into a shallow polluted canal,” he said.
China Fears Tremors as Jobs Vanish From Coast
Although the government has not released updated information about rural unrest, officials have been strategizing about how best to keep large protests and riots from spreading, should the dispossessed grow unruly. This week, more than 3,000 public security directors from across the country are gathering in the capital to learn how to neutralize rallies and strikes before they blossom into so-called mass incidents. At a meeting of the Chinese cabinet last month, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao told government leaders they should prepare for rough times ahead. “The country’s employment situation is extremely grim,” he said.
“This is your captain speaking, everyone remain calm, everything is under control. “