China: industrial strikes, peasant protests rock Guangdong

In factory towns across China's Pearl River Delta industrial zone in Guangdong province, thousands of workers walked off the job this week in response to belt-tightening measures imposed by slowing orders from the West. Some 1,000 workers are striking at the Jingmo Electronics Corporation’s Shenzhen factory, located in the industrial district of Shajing township and owned by the Taiwan-based Jingyuan Computer Group. Workers are protesting mandatory overtime with no overtime pay, as well as the high rate of workplace injuries, abusive treatment by managers, mass layoffs of older workers and the lack of any benefits. At Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings' giant shoe factory in Huangjiang town—a major supplier for sports brand New Balance—some 8,000 workers took to the streets Nov. 24, blocking roads, overturning cars and clashing with police. The Federation of Hong Kong Industries has warned that up to a third of around 50,000 Hong Kong-owned factories in Guangdong and elsewhere in China could downsize or close by the end of the year, putting at risk hundreds of thousands of jobs. (Reuters, The Telegraph, Nov. 25; China Labor Watch, Nov. 23)

On Nov. 21, some 5,000 marched from Wukan village in Shanwei, Guangdong, to government offices in Lufeng City, demanding the return of farmland seized by local authorities for development. The conflict first flared in September when hundreds of residents ransacked local government offices in Lufeng and bulldozed a wall around the disputed land. (NTD, Nov. 24)

See our last posts on China, the peasant struggle in Guangdong, and the global econo-protests.

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  1. China: one dead in Guangdong peasant struggle
    A man accused of participating in the land protest of Wukan villagers in China’s Guangdong province died in police custody Dec. 12. Xue Jinbo suddenly felt ill on his third day of detention and was rushed to hospital, where he was declared dead, said a statement posted on the website of Shanwei city government. The hospital determined Xue’s cause of death was cardiac failure, the statement said. Authorities suspected Xue of involvement in an angry Sept. 21 protest in Wukan, where residents ransacked a police station and other government buildings. (AP, Dec. 12)