Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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  • Books to Read

    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
  • Did you know

    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Jiangxi’ Category

Bombings in China rattle officials’ nerves

Posted by Author on May 26, 2011

Reporting from Beijing (LA Times)— A farmer who said his house had been demolished set off three bombs at government buildings in the eastern Chinese city of Fuzhou on Thursday, killing himself and one other person and putting nerves on edge at a time when authorities are increasingly anxious about social unrest.

The bomber was identified as Qian Mingqi, an unemployed 52-year-old. The other person killed was not immediately identified. Six people were injured.

Bombings of this magnitude are relatively rare in China. Officials’ nervousness was evident from a ham-handed attempt to keep the incident out of the news. Angry reporters in Fuzhou complained that police confiscated their notebooks and cellphones and deleted photographs from cameras. An early report posted on the official New China News Agency site that described the attack as retaliation against local government was later removed. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Forced Evictions, Jiangxi, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Rural, Social, South China, World | Comments Off on Bombings in China rattle officials’ nerves

900-year-old drains save China city from deadly floods

Posted by Author on July 16, 2010

By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai, The Telegraph, UK, July 14, 2010 –

Torrential rain and flash floods have caused £1.9 billion of damage in China. Nearly forty people were killed this week alone in a series of landslides.

But the 100,000 residents of the ancient city of Ganzhou, in Jiangxi province, are safe and dry, thanks to two drains built during the Song dynasty (960-1279), which proved far more effective than modern sewer systems at coping with the downpour.

Two long tunnels, built using bricks from the city walls, cross the city and channel floodwater into two ponds that function as reservoirs. The designer of the system, Liu Yi, named the drains “Fu” or Fortune, and “Shou” or Longevity.

“The ancient residents of Ganzhou were very advanced in hydro-technology,” said Wang Ronghong, head of the city’s project management and maintenance office.

“They built 12 water gates at the mouth of the drain, which help block rising water during the rainy season. When the river level is lower than the gate, the water from the drainage system flows out, but if the water outside the city rises, the gates snap shut to prevent any of it coming in,” he explained.

The drainage system also uses the natural camber of the city to quickly channel water outwards. The original Song Dynasty system used hundreds of ponds across the city as reservoirs.

However, most of these have now been filled in by keen property developers, leaving only the old town’s ponds intact. As a consequence, the ancient city is the only one of Ganzhou’s 18 districts not to suffer from flooding.

The Telegraph

Posted in China, disaster, Flood, history, Jiangxi, News, Social, South China, Technology | Comments Off on 900-year-old drains save China city from deadly floods

Protesters in Southeast China Succeed in Stopping New Tax Law

Posted by Author on June 17, 2009

The Epoch Times,  Jun 17, 2009  –

According to a Xinhua report on June 16, a protest against a new tax law in Nankang city, Jiangxi Province, caused authorities to repeal the new law, which was supposed to go into effect on June 15.

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 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.

The reversal shows that the CCP is adopting a more compliant approach when faced with massive public outrage……. (More from The Epochtimes)

Posted in China, Incident, Jiangxi, News, People, Politics, Protest, Rural, Social, South China, World | 1 Comment »

China-made Linux Enforced in Internet Cafe at high cost, censorship Suspected

Posted by Author on December 3, 2008

Internet cafes in China are forced to switch to a Chinese-made operating system, with steep licensing fees.

Radio Free Asia, UPDATED DEC. 3 –

— Authorities in the southeastern Chinese city of Nanchang are requiring all local Internet cafes to replace their Microsoft Windows XP operating systems with a Chinese-made system, Red Flag Linux, according to officials and Internet cafe owners.

An official with the Nanchang Cultural Discipline Team, which oversees the roughly 600 Internet cafes operating in Nanchang city, said the new operating systems were mandatory.

“We have already started installing the new software in all Internet cafes. All of them must have this new one,” the official said.

The switch was mandated by the Nanchang Cultural Management Bureau in what it said was an effort to crack down on pirated software, local sources said.

But cafe managers said the new system requires a licensing fee of 5,000 yuan (about U.S. $726), and that even legitimate, non-pirated copies of Windows XP were being replaced.

“Our district cultural management authorities came and installed the new Red Flag Linux in all of our 13 Internet cafes,” one cafe worker said.

“It happened around Nov. 20, and we all paid the 5,000 yuan installation fee, even though we used to use legally purchased Windows XP. But I don’t think this new system is as good as the old one.”

A new, legitimate copy of Windows XP costs around 899 yuan (about U.S. $130) in China, plus 15 yuan for shipping……. (more details from Radio Free Asia: Chinese Authorities Enforce Switch from Microsoft)

Posted in China, Internet, Jiangxi, Nanchang, News, Politics, Social, Software, South China, Technology, World | Comments Off on China-made Linux Enforced in Internet Cafe at high cost, censorship Suspected

20,000 Villagers’ Protest of Killing Suppressed by Police in South China

Posted by Author on October 28, 2008

By Fang Xiao, Epoch Times Staff Oct 27, 2008-

On October 24, 2008, people gathered in front of the Green Sea Wood Company located in Jiangtou Village, Eryuan Township, Tonggu County of Jiangxi Province. (Internet photo)

On October 24, 2008, people gathered in front of the Green Sea Wood Company located in Jiangtou Village, Eryuan Township, Tonggu County of Jiangxi Province. (Internet photo)

On the evening of Oct. 23, at 10:00 p.m., villagers of Hongsu Village of Jiangxi Province were raided by crime syndicate members allegedly hired by the Green Sea Wood Co., Ltd (The Green Sea Company) of Tonggu County. One villager was killed, dozens were hospitalized and several were in critical condition.

Villagers said that they called for the police but no police were sent to help them on that night. On Oct. 24, 2008, hundreds of armed police gathered in front of the Green Sea Company to suppress a large crowd calling for justice in regard to the attack of the previous day.

Villagers explained that the Green Sea Company is a fairly large company with several hundred staff members. The company officials have made deals with county government officials to sell the valuable natural resources of the county—the Cunninghamia lanceolata trees—and this has damaged the local natural environment severely.

According to some villagers the main cause for the crime syndicate to kill people was the disputes over the tolls of the roads into the village. The roads were paid by the government as well as local villagers. Everyone,

Overturned vehicles in the clash between villagers and police. (Internet photo)

Overturned vehicles in the clash between villagers and police. (Internet photo)

including the villagers, pay tolls. However, the Green Sea Company’s employees never paid tolls. Villagers argued with the company officials and hence they hired the attackers to get revenge.

One villager said, “Those members of the crime syndicate killed and wounded whoever they met. It didn’t matter if you were sleeping or you were just a child. The village and township heads were also wounded. They even said that the boss of the Green Sea company told them that it would be okay for them to kill people, as he knows someone with a very high position in the government.”

Witnesses said that on the morning of Oct. 24 at about 9:00a.m., there were about 20,000 people gathered in front of the Green Sea Wood Company appealing for justice, and a large number of armed police were sent to the scene to suppress them. The police used tear gas to disperse the people. Many local officials were at the scene but apparently, none of them showed any concern for or compassion toward the villagers who had been attacked.

Witnesses also said, “Several hundred armed police used batons to beat up and wound villagers. Villagers were then provoked and had a big fight with the police.

“Angry villagers smashed six vehicles and burnt one from the Green Sea Company. They also smashed ten police vehicles and overturned four. This incident didn’t calm down until 5:00p.m. and the public hasn’t heard how the government is going to handle it yet.”

The Epochtimes

Posted in China, corruption, Human Rights, Incident, Jiangxi, Killing, Law, News, People, Politics, Protest, Rural, Social, South China, World | Comments Off on 20,000 Villagers’ Protest of Killing Suppressed by Police in South China

100,000 Migratory Birds Disappear in China Snow Storms, “no mass deaths” uncovered, Says Official

Posted by Author on February 18, 2008

AFP, Feb. 17, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — About 100,000 migratory birds disappeared in recent fierce snow storms in eastern China, state media reported Sunday.

About 95 percent of the world’s white cranes, half of the white-naped cranes and 60 percent of swan geese are believed to migrate to a nature reserve at Poyang Lake each year in Jiangxi province, Xinhua news agency said.

Poyang Lake is China’s biggest fresh water lake and an internationally significant wetland area.

Hundreds of workers at the reserve distributed grain, corn and vegetables but found only 40,000 birds, leaving about 100,000 unaccounted for, said Luo Shengjin, deputy director of the reserve.

Luo said no mass deaths had been uncovered and the birds could have migrated elsewhere. But the reserve was still concerned and was planning to employ helicopters to widen the search for the missing birds.

The worst weather in decades hit large areas of China last month, killing at least 107 people and causing more than 15 billion dollars in economic losses, according to official figures.

– Original report from AFP: Migratory birds disappear in China storms

Posted in animal, Bird, China, Climate, Environment, Health, Jiangxi, Lake, News, Poyang Lake, South China, World | Comments Off on 100,000 Migratory Birds Disappear in China Snow Storms, “no mass deaths” uncovered, Says Official

China Suffers Severe Drought and Floods in July

Posted by Author on August 14, 2007

By Xin Fei, Epoch Times Staff, Aug 11, 2007-

Recent climate anomalies in China has caused ceaseless droughts in some areas and continuous floods in other places. Experts have pointed out that the global greenhouse effect and other human factors were the main reasons for the disasters.

Continuous droughts and high temperatures have been afflicting many areas including Hunan, Jiangxi, Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Zhejiang, Xinjiang, Fujian provinces and Shanghai City, with Jiangxi and Hunan being the hardest hit. The drought in the mid-eastern part of Inner Mongolia has lasted a long time, and the situation keeps worsening.

According to the latest official figures, this year 23 million acres of cultivated area suffered from the droughts, which is 2.7 million acres higher than average. The droughts affected 21.7 million acres of crops, among which 7.8 million acres are severely affected, and 1.4 million acres completely withered. The drought has also caused a fresh water shortage for 5.88 million people and 4.7 million cattle.

Since this summer, heavy rainfalls have caused floods in many parts of China, especially in Chongqing City as well as Sichuan, Guizhou, Xinjiang, Guangxi and Hubei provinces. So far the flood has killed nearly 700 people, affected 120 million, and caused US$7 billion economic losses.

Jiangxi is experiencing the worst drought in 50 years, with 1.06 million people facing a drinking water shortage, and 1.3 million acres of crops affected by the drought. The drought is still worsening, and is spreading quickly from the middle to the rest of the province.

According to latest figures, from April 1 to July 30 this year, the average rainfalls in Jiangxi is 594 mm, 32 percent below that in the same period of past years, and 20 percent blow that in the same period of 2003.

In Hunan Province the drought has continued for four weeks, which omens a dry autumn. Several million people are facing a drinking water crisis. Rainfall is down by 25 percent compared to previous years, leaving half of the two million water reservoir facilities empty.

According to the Hunan Meteorological Bureau’s forecast, the temperate will reach up to 40° C (104° F) in most of August.

Since June, high temperatures and low rainfall have affected the northeast Heilongjiang and some other areas in the province. The provincial Sanjiang Plain area is afflicted by a summer drought, which has not occurred in that area for many years. Some areas experienced over 40 continuous rainless days. A lot of farmlands are covered with a 30-centimeter (11.8 inches) deep layer of dry soil.

In Fuzhou, capital city of Fujian Province, high temperature as lasted for 31 days by July 30, the longest period since the city’s first official weather record was made in 1880. In many other parts of Fujian, hot weather has also lasted for 26 to 35 days.

In Zhejiang the continuous hot weather has lead to water shortages in many places and the situation is becoming more serious.

Recently Shanghai has suffered continuous hot days with temperature as high as 39° C (102° F) or even higher.

According to a meteorological department report, Shanghai’s temperature peeked at 39.6° C (103° F) on July 29. The last time Shanghai had the same temperature was on July 25, 2003, and it broke a 63 years’ record.

So far nearly 700 people have died as a result of the flood, lightning and mudslides across China. The flood has affected up to 120 million people with economic losses amounting to $7 billion.

Chongqing City recently was hit by the heaviest rainfalls in the century. Millions of people were affected and nearly 100 were killed or missing. The losses reached 2.978 billion yuan ($0.39 billion).

Guangxi Province was also hit by continuous torrential rainfalls, resulting in mountain torrents and river flooding which affected 8.3 million people and caused a direct economic loss of 9.84 million yuan ($1.3 million).

From July 27 to 31, heavy rains hit Sanmenxia City of Henan Province, the south part of Shanxi Province, middle southern parts of Shannxi Province. Serious rainstorms and landslides have occurred in many areas. According to preliminary statistics, 57 people were killed and 43 were missing as of August 10.

Original report from the Epochtimes

Posted in Central China, China, Chongqing, Climate, East China, Environment, Fujian, Guangxi, Guizhou, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Jiangxi, Life, NE China, North China, NW China, SE China, Shaanxi, shanghai, Shanxi, Sichuan, South China, SW China, Xinjiang, Zhejiang | Comments Off on China Suffers Severe Drought and Floods in July

China Protesters Block Railway Lines

Posted by Author on March 23, 2007

BBC News, 22 March 2007-

Hundreds of demonstrators blocked key railway lines in eastern China in protest at threats to their benefits, state media has reported.

More than 200 protesters, and several hundred onlookers, descended on two lines near Guixi in Jiangxi province.

They were protesting at planned zoning changes in Guixi which could impact on income and benefits, the reports said.

Protests, particularly in rural China, have become increasingly common as the gap between rich and poor has widened.

Many of the protests have been linked to land seizures and corruption among local officials.

Some 20,000 people clashed with police in central Hunan province last week after protesting at an attempt by a bus company to double the price of tickets.

Reports that one person had died were denied by the authorities.

Popular route

In the latest incident, protesters arrived at the railway station in Guixi shortly before noon on Wednesday, the state news agency Xinhua said.

They blocked two railway lines, including a heavily-used track that links Shanghai in the east to Kunming, the capital of south-western Yunnan province.

The protest went on for at least four hours before it was broken up by police and officials who had been called to the scene, the reports said.

The protesters were voicing their anger at a plan to place parts of Guixi under the control of a different district, which would have an impact on benefits.

“They worried that the re-division would affect their salaries and welfare,” the Xinhua report said.

original report from BBC

Posted in China, Economy, Incident, income, Jiangxi, Law, Life, News, People, Politics, Protest, Rural, SE China, Social, South China, transport | 4 Comments »

China Leader Admitted for First Time Regime is Facing Crisis

Posted by Author on January 16, 2007

By Luo Bing, Chengming Monthly Magazine (Chinese), Hongkong, Jan. 1, 2007-

Chinese President Hu Jingtao admitted recently that the Chinese Communist PartyCover, Chengming Monthly, Jan. 1, 2007 (CCP) regime is facing three unprecedented crises: A political crisis, a crisis revolving around social infrastructure, and a crisis concerning overall governance within the regime. Among them, the crisis of governance is the most threatening.

CCP is Faced With Three Unprecedented Crises

It was at the Annual Conference of the 12th Central Committee Political Bureau of 2006 that Hu admitted to the enormous pressure that the ruling party is facing. This pressure comes in the form of three unprecedented crises. These are: a political crisis, a social infrastructure crisis, and a crisis concerning governance. All three of these crises are triggered by and amplified by one another, creating a very difficult situation.

Among the three crises, the one revolving around governance of the regime is most serious. Hu wasted no time in pointing out that the most serious and urgent issue the CCP is facing is the implementation of the party’s principles and policies to the entire country. This is critical in that it is needed to check, reverse, and ultimately solve the crisis. It is directly related to the country’s fate, the interests of 1.3 billion people, and the vitality of the party as a ruling party.

Vice Premier Wu Banguo said at the meeting that the escalation of the governance crisis at the local level had all but destroyed the stability of society, economic development, financial order, and any potential for a harmonious relationship between the people and the government.

Disclosures: 200 to 250 reports regarding political issues, social stability, or accidents submitted by local governments account for half of the various reports every day.

A new trend has appeared recently, which is, more reports are about superstructure, democratic parties, and appealing events in religious circles. For example, legal proceedings against various party committees and government departments are used to put the heads of the respective government departments and legal departments into a passive state.

Premier Wen Jiabao said, “Lawsuits against the party or its government organs from all circles reflect not only the progress in the legal system and its law-making procedures, but also the administrative gap between the party, government organizations, and the law, which serves to worsen the crisis in governance.”

Summary of the 31-Province Questionnaire on CCP and its Organizations

The assessment questionnaire of CCP and its organizations of the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and the municipalities directly under the central government are summarized below:

(1) None of them are listed as Category 1 (good, very good, very satisfied), or Category 2 (good, satisfactory).

(2) Category 3 (normal) consists of: Beijing City, Tianjin City, Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province and the Tibet Autonomous Region. Ningxia Muslim Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Hainan Province.

(3) Category 4 (unsatisfactory, bad) consists of: Liaoning Province, Jilin Province, Guangdong Province, Fujian Province, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Shanghai City, Shandong Province, Sichuan Province, Guizhou Province, Gansu Province and other provinces.

(4) Category 5 (very dissatisfied, poor) consists of: Hebei Province, Shanxi Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Heilongjiang Province, Anhui Province, Jiangxi Province, Henan Province, Hubei Province, Hunan Province, Chongqing City, Shaanxi Province, Yunnan Province and Qinghai Province. Among them, Henan, Anhui, Shanxi, Hunan received very low points. In the provinces (autonomous regions) which are classified as Category 5 (very dissatisfied, poor), city government, police officers, and the legal system are going through judicial darkness and collusion with the business sector. The society is chaotic and wide gaps have developed between the rich and the poor, resulting in fierce, often violent protests.

The Central Committee of the CCP dispatched teams to 19 provinces (autonomous regions) in light of the current situation.

Central Authorities Have Introduced New Plan For Dealing with Social Gatherings

The Central Committee and State Council of the CCP recently promulgated a number of regulations detailing ways to strictly deal with group activities.

It includes five topics in total. It stresses that the accidents resulting from local governments’ violation of regulations and policies made by the Central Committee of the CCP would be investigated for dereliction of duty. If large-scale protests occur and cause casualties and economic losses, the corresponding people in the local government must be held responsible for serious misconduct and receive criminal prosecution.

The so-called “scale” criterion means above 5000 people in the provincial cities and above 2,000 people in other cities are involved in an accident, or above 20 people wounded, including five or more death in an accident, or with economic losses( direct and indirect) of more than 20 million yuan (about U.S. $ 2.5 million).

Chengming Monthly Magazine (Chinese) is the most widely read political magazine published in Hong Kong.
– This Article translated from Chinese by the Epochtimes

Posted in Anhui, Beijing, Central China, China, Chongqing, Communist Party, East China, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Incident, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Law, Liaoning, NE China, News, Ningxia, North China, NW China, Politics, Protest, Qinghai, SE China, Shaanxi, Shandong, shanghai, Shanxi, Sichuan, Social, South China, SW China, Xinjiang, Yunnan, Zhejiang | Comments Off on China Leader Admitted for First Time Regime is Facing Crisis

Armed police moved into campus, Planned Student Protest Stopped

Posted by Author on October 31, 2006

Radio Free Asia, 2006.10.30- HONG KONG—Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangxi appeared Monday to have thwarted a planned protest by students angry at the status of their degree certificates.

Armed police were patrolling at least two privately run vocational colleges in the provincial capital Nanchang on Monday, after preventing a planned demonstration from taking place in the city Sunday, students told RFA’s Mandarin service.

“Originally the students had planned a large demonstration in Nanchang of about 10,000 people, but the police had already moved in before it got started and wouldn’t let people leave the campus,” one student said.

“So I don’t know whether anything took place at all.”

Others who made it to Bayi Square, the planned city center rendezvous for the start of the march Sunday morning, found a phalanx of armed police waiting for them.

“We got there but there were already so many police we couldn’t get through,” another student told reporter Ding Xiao.

‘Looking for justice’

“There was nothing wrong with our reasons for demonstrating. We were just looking for justice. But they weren’t having it. We haven’t had a single attempt at explanation from the colleges concerned,” he said.

Students and police clashed in the city early last week following increasingly angry protests after students learned their degree certificates wouldn’t be recognized.

Mobile phone video and photos shot by eyewitnesses showed campus buildings and vehicles ablaze, cars upturned, and large crowds in clashes with riot police armed with truncheons and shields.

“Things got pretty serious because so many of us have been working hard to get into university for so many years, and now we find that when we do graduate our degree paper is just a blank sheet of paper because the government won’t recognize it. It’s useless,” a student told reporter Lin Di on Friday.

“Things were getting out of hand and then they sent in the armed police. Even teachers were injured. But that kind of news doesn’t get out mostly. So they called in the police.”

An official who answered the phone at the Nanchang municipal police department said he was unaware of the reports of rioting. “Not everything you read on the Internet is true,” he said.

‘It’s a con’

Professor Hu Xingdou of the Beijing University of Science and Technology said the students were essentially in the right.

“A lot of university officials don’t play a straight game nowadays. It’s a con. They make it sound as if there are many benefits and advantages when they’re recruiting students, but actually these benefits are non-existent,” he told a discussion panel.

“This has to do with the increasing level of privatization in the education sector in recent years, and the growing economic power of students. It’s the result of a society-wide obsession with money,” Hu said.

China’s leaders, who are increasingly concerned about the rise in popular unrest around the country in recent years, are reportedly keeping a worried eye on developments in Jiangxi.

Hu said the Jiangxi riots had profound implications for China’s stability.

“There are a lot of factors which affect social stability nowadays, like the growing gap between rich and poor, the problem of corruption, and industrial disputes.”

But he said the protests had little in common with the student-led pro-democracy movement of 1989.

“Back then, they were united in their hatred of corruption. You could say that they were political. These protests aren’t very political because today’s university students aren’t very interested in politics,” he told reporter Shen Hua.

Retired Shandong University professor Sun Wenguang agreed, saying that political activism was more common among faculty back in 1989, before the government began a large scale suppression of politically active academics. “Now they’ll kick someone out as soon as they start anything like that,” he said.

Sun blamed the rapid expansion rate at Chinese universities. “When all these students get to graduation they are finding it very hard to find jobs.”

“There is a huge amount of dissatisfaction among students nowadays and that has been expressed in these riots.”

Students Riot Over Diplomas in eastern China

Posted in China, Education, Jiangxi, Nanchang, News, People, Police, Protest, Social, Student | Comments Off on Armed police moved into campus, Planned Student Protest Stopped

17 communist union branches now set up in Wal-Mart China

Posted by Author on September 3, 2006

China Labour Bulletin, 15 August 2006–

Since July 29, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions(ACFTU, state controlled)’s drive to set up union branches in Wal-Mart stores in China has snowballed rapidly, with a total of 17 union branches now having been formed in Wal-Mart stores in cities around the country. They include three unions in Fuzhou and one in Quanzhou, Fujian Province; one in Nanjing and another in Shanghai; three in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province; two in Shenyang and three in Dalian, Liaoning Province; and others in Jinan and Qingdao, Shandong Province, and in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province.

Wal-Mart first entered China’s domestic market in 1996 and currently employs around 32,000 workers in some 60 retail stores nationwide. Since 2003, the company has been under sustained pressure from the ACFTU to permit the formation of union branches in its China stores. In November 2004, the company caved in and publicly stated: “Should associates [i.e. employees] request formation of a union, Wal-Mart China would respect their wishes and honour its obligation under China’s Trade Union Law.” For the next year and a half, however, the ACFTU tried in vain to persuade Wal-Mart to cooperate in the actual establishment of union branches in its China stores.

That all changed after Hu Jintao, China’s president and Communist Party leader, directly intervened in March of this year. A lengthy article published on August 15 in the Beijing daily newspaper Xin Jing Bao (New Capital News) explains why the current spate of Wal-Mart union branches in China has emerged so suddenly and unexpectedly:

“According to the ACFTU’s records, On March 14 this year CPC Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao issued instructions on a report titled A Situation Analysis on the Factors of Instability in Foreign-invested Enterprises in China’s Coastal Area, and Some Proposed Countermeasures. Hu Jintao ordered: “Do a better job of building Party organizations and trade unions in foreign-invested enterprises.” This created a new and opportune moment for union building in foreign enterprises. On March 16 the ACFTU instructed its staff to study Hu Jintao’s comments, and it set the target of unionizing 60 percent or more of the country’s foreign-invested enterprises by the end of 2006, and 80 percent or more by the end of 2007.”

ACFTU Fulfils its Quota – Wal-Mart Accepts Fait Accompli

On Saturday, July 29, 25 Wal-Mart workers in the city of Quanzhou, Fujian Province, formed a seven-member trade union committee, thus breaking the long-standing absence of unions in Wal-Mart’s China stores. On August 4, 42 more workers at a Wal-Mart store in Shenzhen formed a union. The retail giant saw its third union in China set-up the following day in its Xinjiekou store in Nanjing, where 31 employees elected a local university graduate to head their trade union committee. Several hours later, another union was formed by 12 workers at a second Wal-Mart store in Shenzhen; and then on August 8, 27 employees of yet another store in Shenzhen voted to form the company’s fifth union branch.

All the union branches are relatively small, with around 25 to 35 members each. But what mainly distinguishes them, according to official Chinese reports, is that they were all set up “on the initiative of the workers themselves”, and in accordance with provisions of the PRC Trade Union Law of 2002 mandating the formation of unions in enterprises employing more than 25 workers. Regulations enacted by the Guangdong government in 2004 lowered the union-building threshold still further, in that province, to as few as 10 workers in a single enterprise.

For the first couple of weeks, Wal-Mart representatives remained uncharacteristically silent about the sudden unionization drive within the company’s China stores. On August 9, however, the official Xinhua News Agency quoted the vice president of Wal-Mart China, Li Chengjie, as saying it wanted to cooperate with the ACFTU “in a more effective and harmonious way.” The same day, the ACFTU warned Wal-Mart not to retaliate against workers who form unions. The group, “led by the Communist Party of China and backed by the government, will take measures to protect these workers,” Xinhua reported, paraphrasing Guo Wencai, director of the ACFTU’s department of grassroots organizing. Wal-Mart then asked for direct negotiations with the ACFTU and requested that “no media” be allowed to attend such meetings. The 12 most recent Wal-Mart union branches have all been formed over the past week, and it now seems clear that the ACFTU’s goal is to unionize all 60 Wal-Mart stores around the country. (to be cont’d…)

Next >>

Capitalist Wal-Mart goes communist in China , August 24th, 2006

Posted in China, Dalian, East China, Economy, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jinan, Liaoning, Nanchang, Nanjing, NE China, Official, People, Politics, Qingdao, Report, SE China, Shandong, shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Social, Worker, World | 1 Comment »

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