Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

  • China Organ Harvesting Report, in 19 languages

  • Torture methods used by China police

  • Censorship

  • Massive protests & riots in China

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  • Books to Read

    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    3.
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    4.
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    5.
    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 ‘Worker’ Category

Southern China Shaxi Riots Escalates, Police Crackdown Ordered, 30 Died

Posted by Author on June 30, 2012


Security forces in southern Guangdong province have reportedly been cleared to use deadly force in an escalating riot in Shaxi township.

Hong Kong’s Apple Daily reports that paramilitary forces and police are to stop the riots and demonstrations that began this Monday with guns if necessary.

Migrant workers are clashing with local residents. The riots began after the son of a migrant worker was beaten by security officials after getting into a fight with a local boy. Riots have been escalating as workers from nearby towns converge in Shaxi. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Guangdong, News, People, Protest, Riot, Rural, SE China, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on Southern China Shaxi Riots Escalates, Police Crackdown Ordered, 30 Died

Henan Case Underscores Depth of China’s Slavery Problem

Posted by Author on September 7, 2011


(WSJ)- Police in central China’s Henan province said they have rescued 30 mentally handicapped people who had been enslaved at illegal brick kilns, in the latest case of slavery in China, a problem that continues in the country despite government pledges to eradicate it.

Zhang Xiaolei, director of the province’s propaganda office, said three people were in police custody in connection with the operation of the brick kilns, while several others remained at large. He said authorities learned of the brick kilns through recent local media reports.

Mr. Zhang and state-run media said the workers had severe mental illnesses and had been unable to provide police with their identities or where they were from. The state-run China Daily newspaper reported some of the victims had been enslaved for more than seven years. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Central China, China, Henan, Law, Life, News, People, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on Henan Case Underscores Depth of China’s Slavery Problem

Special Report:China migrant unrest exposes generation faultline

Posted by Author on June 28, 2011


(Reuters) – In a backstreet pool hall in southern China’s factory belt, young migrant workers gather around the tables, their eyes flitting between the worn green baize and the anti-riot police patrolling the grimy alleys.

The police search cars at roadblocks just outside in Dadun, an urban village in the city of Zengcheng, where sweatshops make so many millions of blue jeans that the city promotes itself as the “jeans capital of the world”.

“Are you a plainclothes policeman?”, one spiky haired migrant sitting on a moped outside the pool hall jokingly asks a visitor. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Life, News, People, Politics, Worker, World | Comments Off on Special Report:China migrant unrest exposes generation faultline

Third day of Shanghai strike threatens China exports- Two arrested, foreign reporters briefly detained

Posted by Author on April 22, 2011


* Two arrested; foreign reporters briefly detained
* Strike sparked by rising costs, fees
* Some exports delayed at world’s busiest container port
* Minimal disruptions to refined copper flows (Adds comment, detail)

By Melanie Lee and Royston Chan

SHANGHAI, April 22 (Reuters) – Striking truck drivers protested for a third day on Friday in Shanghai’s main harbour district amid heavy police presence and signs the action has already started to curb exports from the world’s busiest container port.

The strike is a very public demonstration of anger over rising consumer prices and fuel price increases in China. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, East China, News, People, Politics, shanghai, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on Third day of Shanghai strike threatens China exports- Two arrested, foreign reporters briefly detained

Hundreds of Truck drivers go on strike at China’s Shanghai ports protesting rising costs

Posted by Author on April 21, 2011


SHANGHAI — A strike by truck drivers at Shanghai container ports continued for a second day Thursday, as they called for higher freight rates to offset rising fuel costs, firms and Chinese media said.

Hundreds of drivers, who gathered at several ports in the city on Wednesday morning, were mostly dispersed by police later that day, the Century Weekly magazine said on its website.

However, the story — which made no mention of any violence — was quickly removed and state media did not report further on the incident. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, East China, Economy, News, People, shanghai, Worker, World | Comments Off on Hundreds of Truck drivers go on strike at China’s Shanghai ports protesting rising costs

Chinese iPhone workers poisoned by chemical: report

Posted by Author on October 27, 2010


AFP, Oct 26, 2010 –

SYDNEY — Workers who say they were assembling Apple computers and iPhones in southern China have spent months in hospital after being exposed to a harmful chemical, an Australian media report said Tuesday.

An Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist said he gained access to the Number Five People’s Hospital in Suzhou where he spoke to a group of women who said they were left unable to walk after being exposed to n-hexane.

“At first the symptoms were pretty obvious,” one woman said of her reaction to breathing in the chemical, which was used to clean and stick logos on products. “My hands were numb. I could hardly walk or run,” she added.

The report said the women had been in hospital for more than six months after working in a cramped and airless factory producing what they believed to be genuine Apple laptops and iPhones. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, News, People, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on Chinese iPhone workers poisoned by chemical: report

Chile Mine Rescue Shocks Chinese Public

Posted by Author on October 20, 2010


By Cao Changqing, Via The Epochtimes, Oct 19, 2010 –

The contrast between the recent Chilean mine rescue and the handling of mine accidents in China is enormous, and has provided the Chinese people with a revealing example of the differences between the two systems of government.

After the Chile mine collapse, when nobody knew whether there were any survivors, the Chilean government spared no efforts to try to reach the trapped miners. In China, no mining accident has ever been treated with such attention and patience; Chinese authorities will pronounce everyone dead if there are no signs of life shortly after an accident.

“Chilean miners were lifted from the shaft, while Chinese miners are sent to hell,” one netizen commented. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Health, Incident, Life, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Worker, World | Comments Off on Chile Mine Rescue Shocks Chinese Public

Foxconn accused of exploiting workers in China: survey

Posted by Author on October 9, 2010


SHANGHAI — IT firm Foxconn faces renewed pressure over conditions at its factories after state media said Friday it had been accused of forcing staff in China to work excessive overtime while exploiting interns.

The results of a survey of employees at Foxconn come just months after a spate of suicides at the Taiwan company’s plants in China, including 10 at its Shenzhen facility which employs an estimated 400,000 workers.

Researchers questioned 1,736 workers at plants in nine cities and found they worked an average 83.2 hours overtime a month, more than twice the maximum 36 hours allowed under Chinese law, the China Business News said. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Business, China, Company, Guangdong, Law, Life, News, People, SE China, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on Foxconn accused of exploiting workers in China: survey

Redundant workers protect homes with gas and pesticide in Northwest China

Posted by Author on October 4, 2010


SOH News,Oct. 3, 2010 –

Authorities in Gansu Province have seized a paper mill and are moving to seize surrounding lands. In Zhenyuan County, 400 mill workers were driven out of their homes. Two workers were interviewed by SOH, one of them Mr Liu said the remaining residents were arming themselves with pesticide and gasoline to defend themselves against government officials.

The mill occupies 58,000 square metres of land. It was built over 40 years ago and has fixed assets worth tens of millions of Yuan and cash assets worth 13 million Yuan (AUD$2 million). The local authorities became interested in the property and took control of it. The mill was forced into bankruptcy by the authorities. The company name was changed to the ‘Jiahe Beer Packaging Factory of Qingyang’. The accounts and books were then prepared under the name of a separate company. Tens of millions of dollars of assets were then embezzled. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Gansu, Human Rights, Law, Life, News, NW China, Official, People, Politics, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on Redundant workers protect homes with gas and pesticide in Northwest China

China’s migrant workers: from beggars to choosers

Posted by Author on September 21, 2010


Theage.com.au, Alexandra Harney, September 21, 2010 –

Shortages and a less compliant workforce will drive a rethink in labour relations.

EVEN with Chinese factory wages up more than 20 per cent this year, the factories are facing a labour shortage.

This underscores the reality behind the Foxconn International Holdings suicides and the strikes at Honda Motor. Chinese factory managers have no idea what their employees really want, migrant workers from the countryside are quitting jobs faster than before, and high turnover is hindering productivity growth.

To stay competitive, China’s manufacturers will have to do more than just increase salaries: they will have to change the way they manage their workforce.

Don’t believe me? Ask Fang. Less than a year into her job at a shoe factory in Wenzhou, she’s thinking about quitting. Fang wants higher wages, shorter hours and better working conditions. But ultimately what she wants are skills and responsibility. She dreams of opening a store, of being her own boss. Managing her own business, Fang shouts into her mobile phone over the din of machines on the assembly line, ”would be better than this. It would give me an opportunity to improve myself”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in China, Economy, Life, News, People, SE China, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on China’s migrant workers: from beggars to choosers

China facing huge unemployment pressures- 22%

Posted by Author on September 10, 2010


AFP, Sep. 10, 2010 –

BEIJING — With more than one billion workers in China, the world’s most populous nation is facing a huge unemployment problem as only 780 million labourers are employed, the government said Friday.

The numbers included in China’s “white paper” on the nation’s human resources, released on Friday, suggest that around 22 percent of China’s labour force is without jobs.

“China is facing huge employment pressures at present and for the foreseeable future,” Yi Chengji, spokesman for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, told reporters at the launch of the white paper.

“As China’s urbanisation quickens, employment pressures from the many surplus rural labourers are getting bigger and bigger,” Yi said.

“Currently there are about 100 million surplus rural workers that need to be transferred (to urban jobs).”

The country’s employment situation has long been vague as the government only routinely publishes unemployment statistics on urban workers, excluding rural areas…….(AFP)

Posted in China, employment, Life, News, People, Politics, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on China facing huge unemployment pressures- 22%

China’s Foxconn faces fresh suicide fears as 14th worker dies

Posted by Author on August 6, 2010


The Telegraph, 06 Aug 2010 –

The 22-year old woman died on Wednesday after falling from a dormitary building at its Kunshan plant in eastern Jiangsu province, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer said on Friday.

Thirteen Chinese employees have committed suicide this year at Foxconn plants and an affiliate by jumping from buildings, including 10 in the southern city of Shenzhen.

It was unclear whether the latest death was a sucide. The company said it was working with local authorities to investigate.

The suicides at Foxconn – which generates revenues of $40bn annually making everything from iPads to desktop computers and televisions – have put the spotlight on working conditions for millions of factory workers in China, the “workshop of the world”.

Protestors in May laid traditional Chinese funeral offerings at Foxconn’s headquarters in Hong Kong. Employment rights campaigers have also criticised the “military-style” regime at Foxconn’s Longhua plant in Shenzhen in particular, where 300,000 people work.

Company founder Terry Gou was earlier this year cleared by Chinese authorities of any wrongdoing in the period leading up to the suicides. He has said none of the suicides was directly work-related.

In June, Foxconn instituted two dramatic pay increases for its workers, designed, it said, attract better-qualified workers at a time when there are labour shortages across China’s manufacturing belts.

Following the latest rise, which will take full effect from October 1, the basic salary for production-line workers at Foxconn’s will have risen from 900 renminbi (£91.30) per month two weeks ago to 2,000 renminbi (£203).

The company employs more than 800,000 workers in China.

Telegraph

Posted in Business, China, Company, Incident, Life, News, People, SE China, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on China’s Foxconn faces fresh suicide fears as 14th worker dies

China’s Summer Of Labor Unrest– deficit of workers’ rights is destabilizing the manufacturing sector

Posted by Author on July 25, 2010


Phelim Kine, The Forbes –

Cheap labor, no independent unions and a bottomless pool of impoverished migrant laborers. That model for China’s export manufacturing sector–which over the past three decades has made the country’s Pearl River Delta region the “workshop of the world–suddenly looks less certain than in the past. In recent months, a series of rolling strikes in southern Guangdong province by mostly migrant workers at factories for Japan’s Honda and Denso Corporation have up-ended popular conceptions of a workforce content with the calculated injustice of the status quo.

Labor unrest is nothing new in China. The majority of the country’s annual 100,000-odd “mass incidents” are local work stoppages by disaffected laborers ranging from taxi drivers to garment workers. State-owned factories in China’s northeast rustbelt region are particularly prone to wildcat strikes, though the combination of state-ownership and bans on domestic media coverage of such actions invariably gets workers back on the job through a combination of enticement and intimidation by management and local government.

The recent spate of strikes has defied that pattern and resulted in hard-won gains for the strikers. It helped that the factories were Japanese-owned, and therefore more politically acceptable targets of Chinese unrest, and that the domestic media was allowed to cover the events. The tenacity and solidarity of the youthful, tech-savvy organizers who used instant messaging and mobile phone technology to maintain their picket lines demonstrated a heightened awareness of workers’ rights.

The result? Rather than being strong-armed into submission, the Honda ( HMC – news – people ) and Denso employees have been able to bargain their way back to work with pay rises and some benefits.

But longer-term labor peace requires the Chinese government to do more than stifle labor activism or, on occasion, actually permit workers to negotiate with their employers. By proactively resolving the grievances stoking worker discontent, the Chinese government can buy itself a measure of labor peace essential to its official goals of “harmony” and “stability”–also prerequisites for maintaining strong foreign direct investment inflow.

The Chinese government should first take the simple but critical step of lifting its prohibition on independent unions and collective bargaining. China’s Trade Union Law, in direct violation of article 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which China ratified in 2001, forbids any union activity outside the state-affiliated All-China Free Trade Union (ACFTU)……. (More detals from the Forbes)

Posted in China, Life, News, People, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on China’s Summer Of Labor Unrest– deficit of workers’ rights is destabilizing the manufacturing sector

Worker at Foxconn affiliate falls to death in China

Posted by Author on July 21, 2010


AFP, July 20, 2010 –

BEIJING — A worker at an affiliate of technology giant Foxconn died Tuesday in south China after falling from a dorm building, state media said, after a spate of similar deaths hit the Taiwanese firm this year.

Foxconn — which assembles Apple’s iPhone — has seen a series of suicides in its Chinese plants this year that has put the spotlight on conditions for millions of factory workers in the “workshop of the world”.

A total of 11 Chinese employees have committed suicide this year at Foxconn plants by jumping from buildings, including 10 in the southern city of Shenzhen.

It was unclear whether the latest death was also suicide.

The official Xinhua news agency said the 18-year-old fell from the sixth floor of a building belonging to Chimei Innolux Corp.

Co-workers said the young man was an intern from the northern province of Hebei and had only started the summer job in Foshan city last month, the report said…….(more details from AFP)

Posted in China, News, People, Social, South China, Worker, World | Comments Off on Worker at Foxconn affiliate falls to death in China

China hospital refuses to treat beaten woman with HIV

Posted by Author on July 15, 2010


AFP, July 15, 2010 –

BEIJING — A Chinese hospital refused to treat a migrant worker seriously injured in a wage dispute after doctors found out the woman was HIV-positive, her co-worker said Friday.

Li Na, 37, was beaten up Monday when she and fellow workers at a construction site in the Inner Mongolia region asked their company for their unpaid wages, and was sent to hospital, Wu Jibiao told AFP.

“She was badly hit five to six times and she was spitting blood, but when doctors did some tests and found out she was HIV-positive, they refused to treat her,” he said.

“They didn’t give her a room either and our company said they would not pay us if she didn’t leave (hospital), so she eventually had to go. But she’s still spitting blood now, her blood pressure is sky high and she can’t walk.”

Wu said doctors told Li’s co-workers that she was HIV-positive — a sensitive issue in China where people with HIV/AIDS still encounter huge discrimination.

“Now she doesn’t want to live because her co-workers don’t want to talk to her, they all look down on her now,” he said.

The People’s Hospital of Dalate Qi, where Li was sent, and local police were not immediately available for comment. Li was also unavailable to speak to reporters.

According to Wu, Li contracted HIV more than 10 years ago when she gave blood in the central province of Henan, her home region.

Henan was the scene of a huge scandal in the 1990s when people were infected by HIV after repeatedly selling their blood to collection stations that pooled it into a tub and then injected it back into them after taking the plasma.

The blood-selling scandal, which was initially covered up by local officials, saw entire villages in Henan devastated by AIDS.

China says that at least 740,000 people are living with HIV, but campaigners say the actual figure could be far higher.

AFP

Posted in AIDS, Central China, China, Health, Henan, News, People, Social, Women, Worker, World | Comments Off on China hospital refuses to treat beaten woman with HIV

China auto parts plant halts production due to strike from Monday

Posted by Author on June 22, 2010


June 22 (Reuters) – Japan’s Denso Corp (6902.T), a car parts maker affiliated with Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), said on Tuesday its joint venture plant in Guangzhou, China has halted production since Monday morning due to a labour strike.

The plant, Denso (Guangzhou Nansha) Co Ltd, has also halted supply of its fuel injection equipment and other products to Toyota, Honda Motor Co (7267.T) and other carmaker clients since Monday, Denso spokeswoman Yoko Suga said.

The management and workers of the joint venture are currently negotiating on the workers’ demand for higher wages and better benefits, she said. (Reporting by Yumiko Nishitani)

Reuters

Posted in Asia, Business, China, Company, Event, Guangdong, Guangzhou, News, People, Protest, SE China, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on China auto parts plant halts production due to strike from Monday

Supplier Strike Halts Toyota Plant in China

Posted by Author on June 19, 2010


By NORIHIKO SHIROUZU, Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2010 –

TIANJIN, China—Toyota Motor Corp. suspended production at an assembly plant in China on Friday because of a strike at a supplier factory, as the impact of labor unrest escalates for the world’s largest auto maker in the biggest car market.

Hitoshi Yokoyama, a Beijing-based Toyota spokesman, said a shortage of certain plastic interior parts from the supplier plant, where workers have been striking since Thursday, began curtailing production at Toyota’s car plant in Tianjin Thursday night. By Friday afternoon, all three of its assembly lines had been idled.

Toyota doesn’t know how long the shutdown will last but is doing its best to resume work as soon as possible, Mr. Yokoyama said.

The Tianjin plant, which makes Corolla, Rav4 and other models and has capacity to produce 400,000 cars a year, is one of Toyota’s largest in China. It has assembly plants in three other Chinese cities—Changchun in the northeast, Chengdu in the southwest, and Guangzhou in the south.

The worker unrest at the Toyota supplier plant is part of a wave of labor action across China in recent weeks that also has hit Honda Motor Co. Honda resolved strikes at two supplier plants in the southern province of Guangdong that also temporarily halted production of vehicles…….(more details from Wall Street Journal)

Posted in Asia, Business, China, Company, East China, News, People, Social, Tianjin, Worker, World | Comments Off on Supplier Strike Halts Toyota Plant in China

China’s Workers Learn to Speak Up Carefully- Don’t talk about Independent Unions

Posted by Author on June 17, 2010


By Harold Meyerson, The Washington Post, Wednesday, June 16, 2010 –

The workers are rising in the workers’ republic. In China’s south coastal provinces, which long ago supplanted the American Midwest as the world’s premier manufacturing belt, employees have gone on strike at a series of factories. Nobody knows how many plants have been threatened with shutdowns or have ground to a halt; one American attorney who’s spent a good deal of time with such workers estimates that it may be close to 1,000.

The cause of the unrest is no mystery. China’s rise to industrial preeminence (in a quantitative if not qualitative sense) has come on the backs of workers whose wages the government has, until recently, suppressed to keep the price of exports artificially low. The official Communist Party-dominated All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) is not really a union. Workers do not choose its leaders, who most frequently come from management. “The union,” says the attorney, “is less state-dominated than employer-dominated.” That is a logical consequence of two party priorities: to build an industrial sector that dominates global markets through low prices; and to prohibit the existence of any organizations that could eventually challenge party control.

While the latter priority is an iron rule, the former is merely situational. Now that China’s industrial might is established, and many of the world’s leading manufacturers are so deeply and profitably invested in China that large-scale relocation is almost unimaginable, the wage suppression that fueled China’s rise is beginning to cause the party as many problems as it once solved. Inequality is rampant; a young, better-educated workforce, cognizant of the new Chinese prosperity and frustrated at their inability to share in it, is no longer content simply to reap the marginal benefits of swapping rural for factory life. Having gone online and seen Par-ee — or, at least, Shanghai — there’s no keeping them down on the farm or in sweatshops.

Thus, the strike wave — and the government’s semi-demi-support for the striking workers. In recent weeks, as Honda factories and others have been shuttered, some provincial governments have raised their minimum wage while national officials have vowed to remedy the plight of the tens of millions of migrants who toil in the factories. The government has permitted media coverage of some strikes, which has highlighted the long hours, low pay and poor working conditions that employees endure.

For the moment, strikes are okay in China; spontaneous collective bargaining is fine. Independent unions, however, are not. Yet it seems that the Communist Party doesn’t have much to fear. To the extent that strike leaders have been quoted, they make clear that the job actions are about wages and working conditions — not about challenging the party’s hegemony. “If they give us 800 renminbi a month,” one such striker told the New York Times, “we’ll go back to work right away.”

“There are some demands for independent unions,” says the American attorney, “but most workers I’ve encountered stay within the existing Chinese legal system. They want more pay, not a political discourse. This isn’t [the Polish union] Solidarity. What they’re demanding is a Chinese solution — collective bargaining but not an ongoing independent organization. Of course, if they begin electing their own leaders within the ACFTU, that would be a challenge to the party. That hasn’t happened yet, but they now have experienced the positive effect of their own power.” …… (The Washington Post)

Posted in China, News, People, Politics, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on China’s Workers Learn to Speak Up Carefully- Don’t talk about Independent Unions

Strike at Honda plant the latest sign of labor unrest in China

Posted by Author on June 12, 2010


By Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post Foreign Service, Saturday, June 12, 2010 –

BEIJING — Labor strikes continued to spread Friday across parts of China, as newly emboldened workers pressed for higher wages and better conditions, posing a fresh challenge to the government and the country’s only officially sanctioned union.

In Zhangshan, in southeastern China, about 1,700 workers at a factory that makes locks and keys for Honda Motors staged an unusual march through the city streets Friday morning, media reports and labor activists said.

The workers walked off the job Wednesday, demanding more pay and the right to elect their own union representatives. That was a direct affront to the country’s official union, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

Two Honda plants in Guangdong province remain idle because of work stoppages.

Meanwhile, the unrest spread to China’s other main industrial base, in the Yangtze River Delta, when 2,000 workers at a Taiwanese computer-parts plant walked off the job in Shanghai’s Pudong district.

In Kunshan City, in Jiangsu, just outside Shanghai, workers striking at a Taiwanese-owned rubber factory this week clashed with police who tried to break up their protest. Workers also walked off the job this week at a Japanese industrial sewing machine plant in Xian and at a Taiwanese sporting goods factory in Jiujiang, in Jiangxi province.

Economists, labor experts and activists said that there are many more strikes and work stoppages across China, but that the unrest largely unreported in the strictly controlled state-run media.

“It’s everywhere. And all kinds of enterprises,” said Xu Xiaonian, an economics and finance professor at the China Europe International Business School. “It’s not confined to multinationals and joint ventures. And not just the south — everywhere.”

Analysts said the strikes were in many ways copycat versions of walkouts that began in May and shut down three Honda Motors plants, prompting Honda’s Japanese managers eventually to offer workers a wage increase of more than 20 percent. Workers in other sectors became emboldened by that strike’s success, analysts said……. (more details from the Washington Post)

Posted in China, News, People, Social, Worker, World | 1 Comment »

Chinese labour protests spread to new areas

Posted by Author on June 9, 2010


By Tom Mitchell in Hong Kong and Robin Kwong in Taipei, The Financial Times, June 9 2010 –

Chinese labour protests that have forced shutdowns at foreign factories have spread beyond south China’s industrial heartland, posing a dangerous new challenge for Beijing.

Workers at a Taiwanese machinery factory outside Shanghai clashed with police on Tuesday, leaving about 50 protesters injured. The confrontation represented an escalation of recent industrial action in the country, which until this week had been largely peaceful and concentrated in southern Guangdong province.

The violence at KOK International in Kunshan, a factory town in southern Jiangsu province, came just a day after Honda struggled to contain the fallout from its second strike in as many weeks. That strike, at Foshan Fengfu Autoparts, a joint venture majority held by a Honda subsidiary, forced the Japanese carmaker to suspend production at its car assembly plants in nearby Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.

The workers at Foshan Fengfu, which employs 492 people, appeared to have been inspired by a successful strike last week at another Honda components supplier which ended only after the company agreed to a 24-33 per cent wage hike.

Honda said the strike was continuing on Wednesday morning, contradicting a report by the official Xinhua news agency that workers had “completely dispersed” after the supplier, which makes exhaust components for its parent, agreed to come back with an adjusted wage offer in ten days’ time.

The unrest in Foshan suggests that strikes are proliferating faster than local governments and the official All China Federation of Trade Unions, which workers have largely circumvented in their recent protests, can resolve them.

While there is no evidence that workers at different factories are coordinating their activities, the success of the first Honda strike has emboldened workers by demonstrating that mass action can yield results.

In a now typical example, on June 6 about 300 workers at a Taiwanese audio components factory in Shenzhen, the special economic zone bordering Hong Kong, blocked roads to protest a change in their shift schedules. A spokesman for Merry Electronics said the situation was quickly defused.

“We had decided at the beginning of the year to raise wages 10 per cent by July 1, but had never announced this to the staff,” Tseng Chin-tang said. “We took advantage of Sunday’s event to let our staff know about the increase.”

Merry Electronics had been paying its staff Rmb950 ($140) a month, in line with regional minimum wage rates, before the increase to Rmb1,050.

The Financial Times

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Honda to Halt Production at Two South China Plants Over Strike

Posted by Author on June 9, 2010


By Takako Iwatani

June 9 (Bloomberg) — Honda Motor Co., Japan’s second- biggest automaker, said it will halt production at two car factories in China today as workers at a plant partly owned by affiliate Yutaka Giken Co. walked out demanding higher pay.

Honda doesn’t yet know whether the factories in Guangzhou, Guangdong province will resume operations tomorrow, Tokyo-based spokesman Yoshiyuki Kuroda said. Employees at Foshan Fengfu Autoparts Co. in Foshan, Guangdong, began the strike on June 7, forcing Yutaka Giken to close the factory, spokesman Kazuhito Anma said. A Xinhua News Agency report that the strike has ended is incorrect, he said.

Honda, which operates four car-assembly plants in China, agreed last month to raise pay by 24 percent to end a walkout at a wholly owned parts supplier in Foshan that halted its auto production in the nation for more than a week. Demands for higher wages are fast becoming an issue in China and companies need to get used to it, said Jun Ma, an economist at Deutsche Bank AG.

”To keep good workers, the company has to raise pay,” said Koji Endo, a Tokyo-based analyst at Advanced Research Japan. There is a labor shortage in Guangzhou because companies including Honda, Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. have expanded factories there, Endo said……. (more details from the Bloomberg)

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Foxconn Implements Second Pay Raise to Stop Suicides

Posted by Author on June 7, 2010


By: Brian Heater, PC Magazine, 06.07.2010 –

Twelve workers from Foxconn’s southern China plant have committed suicide this year. The plant manufactures the iPhone, among other products. Steve Jobs addressed the issue last week during a talk at the D8 conference in California, calling it “troubling,” but he added that the plant “is not a sweatshop.”

Last week, the company announced that it will raise pay rates 30 percent across the board, in light of the spate of suicides. This week, Foxconn announced it will issue a 66 percent performance-based raise for employees who get good marks on a three-month evaluation.

“This wage increase has been instituted to safeguard the dignity of workers, accelerate economic transformation, support Foxconn’s long-term objective of continued evolution from a manufacturing leader to a technology leader, and to rally and sustain the best of our workforce,” Foxconn’s founder Terry Gou said in a statement.

PC Magazine

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9-day strike at all 4 Honda China factories– Labor Unrest May Signal New Phase in China Economy

Posted by Author on June 1, 2010


By KEITH BRADSHER, The New York Times, May 29, 2010 –

FOSHAN, China — Add another entry to the list of worries for the global economy and financial markets: labor unrest in China.

Rapidly rising industrial wages are beginning to allow China’s workers to share in their country’s rising prosperity. The question is whether these gains can be maintained and even increased without disrupting supply lines to companies around the world, and without discouraging much future investment by Chinese and global companies alike.

The biggest eye-opener for multinationals in China recently has been a nine-day-old strike at a sprawling Honda transmission factory here in Foshan, about 100 miles northwest of Hong Kong.

The strike, which has forced Honda to suspend production at all four of its joint venture assembly plants in China, has shown that Chinese authorities are willing to tolerate work stoppages at least temporarily, even at high-tech operations on which many other factories depend.

Chinese policy makers are trying to let wages rise to create the foundations of an economy driven by domestic demand, without derailing the export machine that has produced the world’s strongest economic growth over the last three decades.

Even before the strike, manufacturers and buyers of low-cost products were already actively seeking alternatives to China, like Vietnam and Cambodia, said Richard Vuylsteke, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

“They’re looking very seriously, and we’re seeing that in apparel and footwear,” he said. “A lot of our members are seeing appreciating wages.”

Honda has been making increasingly generous offers — or perhaps desperate offers — to settle the strike. The company has already offered increases in total compensation of close to 50 percent, according to crumpled-up copies of the offer provided by striking workers.

Roughly half of the 1,900 workers are recent hires from high schools and vocational schools who are paid training rates of just 900 renminbi, or $132, a month, pay slips showed. More experienced workers at the three-year-old factory earn up to 1,500 renminbi, or $220, a month.

Honda’s offer would raise total compensation for trainees to $202 a month, including benefits like a new food allowance; older workers would get slightly smaller raises. The strikers rejected the offer because nearly half of the raises consisted of increases in benefits that might be revoked later. The strikers are demanding an extra 800 renminbi a month, or $117, all in cash.

Takayuki Fujii, a Beijing-based spokesman for Honda, said Saturday evening that negotiations were continuing, but he declined to provide details……. (more detals from The New York Times)

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