Status of Chinese People

About China and Chinese people's living condition

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    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 ‘employment’ Category

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%

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

Posted in China, employment, Life, News, People, SE China, Social, South China, Worker, World | Comments Off on Chinese labour protests spread to new areas

Foxconn China Factory Death: Suicide or Foul Play?

Posted by Author on June 1, 2010


By Luo Ya and Sonya Bryskine, Epoch Times Staff, May 31, 2010 –

(Excerpt)

Further Questions

The suicides have stirred controversy and speculation over issues that go beyond work conditions.

In a recent article published in New Epoch Weekly, Taiwanese attorney Winifred Tung pointed out that in the case of the ninth suicide, the woman who allegedly jumped from a building had been stabbed four times, and a knife was found at the scene.

Tung questioned if this alleged suicide was actually “suicide” and if the other cases might have involved foul play.

Reports by Chinese media also revealed that Foxconn admitted to making workers do 80 hours extra of overtime per month, while the local labor laws only permits 36 hours.

However, following the claims Foxconn sued Wang You and Weng Bao of China Business News, the journalists responsible for revealing these practices, for $3.8 million and filed a successful court ruling to have the journalists’ assets frozen.

International pressure from Reporters Without Borders and inquiries from Apple Inc. itself later pushed Foxconn to reduce the demand to a symbolic 1 yuan ($US 0.12) and withdraw the request to freeze the journalists’ assets.

The Epochtimes

Posted in Business, China, Company, Economy, employment, Guangdong, Health, Incident, Law, News, People, SE China, Shenzhen, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on Foxconn China Factory Death: Suicide or Foul Play?

Microsoft workers in China: ‘We are like prisoners’

Posted by Author on April 14, 2010


Digitaljournal.com –

A Chinese factory making Microsoft peripherals violates every single labor law in China, according to a new report from the National Labor Committee. KYE factory workers toil away 12 hours a day Monday through Friday and earn 43 cents an hour.

Dongguan, China – “We are like prisoners,” one worker at KYE Factory told the NLC, according to the report. “It seems like we live only to work. We do not work to live. We do not live a life, only work.”

That is one of the many statements casting a cloud over Microsoft’s labor practices. Microsoft has been outsourcing production to the KYE factory since at least 2003, the NLC found, and the factory often makes peripherals such as mice, keyboards and webcams.

Released yesterday, NLC’s report titled China’s Youth Meet Microsoft explains daily working conditions:

Twenty or thirty workers on a line must complete 2,000 Microsoft mice in 12 hours. The workers’ hands and fingers are constantly moving, many suffering abrasions and cuts, since the connectors must be inserted very closely together.

The report goes on to quote several workers, who offer an inside perspective on working at KYE in Dongguan City, Guangdong, China. One employee states: “We are ordered around and told what to do and what not to do. No one in management has ever asked us about anything. There is no discussion. You feel no respect.”

What about shifts? Fifteen-hour shifts are not uncommon, the report alleges, and staff are “prohibited from talking, listening to music or using the bathroom during working hours.”

The report, compiled with interviews and photographs from the past three years, found that the majority of KYE’s 2,000 workers were between 16 and 18 years old……. (more details from digitaljournal.com)

Posted in Business, China, Company, Economy, employment, Guangdong, Human Rights, Law, Life, Microsoft, News, People, SE China, Slave labour, Social, sweatshop, USA, Worker, World, Youth | Comments Off on Microsoft workers in China: ‘We are like prisoners’

China’s Economy: ‘Noah’s Ark’ or the ‘Titanic’ (3)

Posted by Author on January 6, 2010


By noted Chinese economist He Qinglian,   Via The Epochtimes, Jan 4, 2010 – (Cont’d)

<< previous

High Unemployment Confounds Domestic Demand

Unemployment in China is a very serious, long-standing problem—as well as a conundrum. Prior to the Beijing Olympic Games of August 2008, Tian Chengping, the former Labor and Social Security Minister, told the media that the number of unemployed was presumed to be 250 million, including 200 million migrant workers from rural areas and 50 million actual residents.

Another CCP official, Zhou Yong, a staff member of the Central Party School, estimated that the number of unemployed migrant workers coupled with unemployed recent university graduates, totals about 50 million for 2009.

Accordingly, the 300 million that are unemployed constitutes 30 percent of the labor-age population in China. This approximates my calculation which was based on data published by the National Bureau of Statistics from previous years.

The rising unemployment rate results in reduced consumption, with China’s domestic demands consistently weakening in recent years, particularly since 2009, when real estate prices were stimulated by Beijing. The Chinese peoples’ buying power is almost solely focused on the housing market, with China’s final domestic consumption rate falling to a historic low. Its residential (private) consumption rate (resident consumption / GDP) in 2008 was 35.5 percent—not only lower than the 70.1 percent of the U.S. during the Great Depression but also even lower than that of India’s 54.7 percent. From 1978 to 2005, China’s average consumption rate was 58.5 percent, lower than the global average consumption rate of 76 percent during the same period……. (to be cont’d)

Posted in China, employment, Life, News, Social, World | Comments Off on China’s Economy: ‘Noah’s Ark’ or the ‘Titanic’ (3)

Thousands of Workers on Strike for Over Seven Days in North China for Being Laid Off

Posted by Author on April 9, 2009


By Gu Qinger, Epoch Times Staff Apr 9, 2009 –

For seven consecutive days, workers at the Yimian Group in Baoding, Hebei Province, have staged a large-scale strike. In order to prevent the new buyer of the company from moving out the equipment, several thousand workers surrounded the factory, and stood on watch day and night. According to workers on the scene, the strike was still going on as of April 3. Some workers have gone to Beijing to appeal for readdress of the injustice. Although the local  authorities sent an investigational group to the factory,  that didn’t remedy any of the issues.

Yimian Group is an old enterprise with a 50-year history. In 2003, the company had 9,021 employees. In 2004, in a re-organization,  all of its shares were sold to the Zhongce Group in Hong Kong. Subsequently, Zhongce Group established a specialized company called Asian Textile Enterprise. After this re-organization, a large number of workers were laid off, with only four thousand  being retained.

The reason  for this large-scale strike was because several thousand workers learned at the end of last month that the company has been secretly sold, but no workers had been told anything about it. Only about one hundred of the nearly four thousand workers will be retained to work at a new factory in Baoding county. The rest will all be laid off. Since last Friday, almost ten thousand workers, including those already retired from Yimian Group, spontaneously went to the factory to watch over the equipment.

The workers disclosed many illegal transactions before and after the reorganizations, including  severe loss of state-owned assets. They explained that after the reorganization five years ago, the promised $50 million investment in three years after the buy-off  was never made. For five years, the payment for employee compensation was delayed, and the retirement insurance also has not been  paid.

Workers stated that the factory originally had $700 million in assets, but now has nothing. The factory has been sold, and the money has disappeared. Now the new buyer and city government cannot or will not answer questions raised by the workers about these transactions.

One worker, Mr. Liu, told this reporter, “This strike has been going on for seven days. The bosses of the factory terminated the contracts with workers for no reason, and halted the production. The factory has been sold. Those  bosses swallowed up all the money, and now the workers have no way to make a living.”

Another worker said, “We are protecting the factory. The leaders planned to sell all the equipment, but the workers protected the factory. Everyone from eighty-year old retirees to young workers and old leaders all came out to ask for justice. Now is the peak time of the strike. Workers are especially angry.”

“Every day there are three to four thousand workers taking turns protecting the equipment, and preventing the buyers from moving the equipment,” he said.

Mr. Liu said, “The city government sent an investigation group to investigate and maintain  order. However, their true responsibility was to monitor the situation. There are many  plainclothes as well as uniformed police outside—nearly 200 to 300 people. We dare not to go in and out freely because we are afraid of being arrested. Now Baoding is blocking the  news of the strike, not publicizing anything.”

When an Epoch Times reporter called the city government of Baoding to inquire about the strike, a staff person there dismissed the call, saying that he is not aware of this matter and that any interview should be directed to the Propaganda Department.”

– The Epochtimes:  Thousands on Strike for Over Seven Days in Baoding, Hebei Province

Posted in Campaigns, China, employment, Hebei, Life, News, North China, People, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on Thousands of Workers on Strike for Over Seven Days in North China for Being Laid Off

Report: Prison-like High-Tech Sweatshop in China Producing for HP, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft and IBM

Posted by Author on February 19, 2009


NEW YORK, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, Charles Kernaghan and the National Labor Committee (NLC) are releasing a 60-page report, High Tech Misery in China, documenting the grueling hours, low wages and draconian disciplinary measures at the Meitai factory in southern China. The 2,000 mostly-young women workers produce keyboards and other equipment for Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft and IBM. Along with worker interviews, photographs of primitive factory and dorm conditions and extensive internal company documents were smuggled out of the factory.

Full report: http://www.nlcnet.org/article.php?id=613

  • Workers sit on hard wooden stools as 500 computer keyboards an hour move down the assembly line, 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with just two days off a month. The workers have 1.1 seconds to snap on each key, an operation repeated 3,250 times an hour, 35,750 a day, 250,250 a week and over one million times a month. The pace is relentless.
  • Workers are paid 1/50th of a cent for each operation they complete.
  • Workers cannot talk, listen to music or even lift their heads to look around. They must “periodically trim their nails,” or be fined.
  • Workers needing to use the bathroom must learn to hold it until there is a break. Security guards spy on the workers, who are prohibited from putting their hands in their pockets and are searched when they leave the factory.
  • All overtime is mandatory and workers are at the factory up to 87 hours a week, while earning a take-home wage of just 41 cents an hour. Workers are being cheated of up to 19 percent of the wages due them.
  • Ten to twelve workers share each overcrowded dorm room, sleeping on metal bunk beds and draping old sheets over their cubicles for privacy. Workers bathe using small plastic buckets and must walk down several flights of stairs to fetch hot water.
  • Workers are locked in the factory compound four days a week and prohibited from even taking a walk.
  • For breakfast the workers receive a thin rice gruel. On Fridays they receive a small chicken leg and foot to symbolize “their improving life.”
  • Workers are instructed to “love the company like your home”…”continuously striving for perfection” …and to spy on and “actively monitor each other.”
  • China provides large subsidies to its exporters. In 2008, the U.S. trade deficit with China in advanced technology products is expected to reach $74 billion. There are 1.4 million electronic assembly jobs left in the U.S. — paying $12.72 to $14.41 an hour — which may be lost due to China’s low wages and repression of worker rights.
Young women cue up in the factory cafeteria

Young women cue up in the factory cafeteria

One Metai worker summed up the general feeling in the factory: “I feel like I am serving a prison sentence…The factory is forever pressing down on our heads and will not tolerate even the tiniest mistake. When working, we work continuously. When we eat, we have to eat with lightning speed… The security guards are like policemen watching over prisoners. We’re really livestock and shouldn’t be called workers.”

Charles Kernaghan, director of the NLC commented, “God help us if the labor-management relations being developed in China become the new low standard for the rest of the world. The $200 personal computer and $22.99 keyboard may seem like a great bargain. But they come at a terrible cost. The low wages and lack of worker rights protections in China are leading the race to the bottom in the global sweatshop economy, where there are no winners.”

Website: http://www.nlcnet.org/
Website: http://www.nlcnet.org/article.php?id=613/

Posted in Business, China, Company, Economy, employment, Human Rights, Law, Life, Made in China, Microsoft, News, People, products, Slave labour, Social, Technology, USA, Women, Worker, World | 6 Comments »

Intel to close China Shanghai plant amid global crisis: statement

Posted by Author on February 19, 2009


SHANGHAI (AFP) — The world’s largest chip maker Intel Corp said Thursday it would shut down an assembly and test factory in Shanghai and move it to a city in China’s far west due to the global economic crisis.

The move will affect about 2,000 employees, who will be offered jobs in the western city of Chengdu or other Chinese locations where Intel operates, the US-based company said in a statement.

The consolidation, which will take place over the next 12 months, came “as a result of current economic conditions”, the statement said.

“The economic downturn has had an enormous impact on the semiconductor sector, forcing companies to take measures to cut costs,” said Liu Liang, an analyst with Industrial Securities, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.

“Moving operations from Shanghai, a high-cost city, to a cheaper place like Sichuan might be an effective way to cope with the financial crisis,” he said.

Intel plans to keep a research and development centre in Shanghai, which will also remain the China headquarters for the company.

It said it was still going ahead with the construction of a plant in the northeast Chinese city of Dalian. The cost of this plant was previously given as 2.5 billion dollars.

Intel last month announced plans to close facilities in Malaysia, the Philippines and the United States. Those moves were expected to affect between 5,000 and 6,000 employees worldwide, the company said.

AFP, Feb. 5, 2009

Posted in Business, China, Company, East China, Economy, employment, Investment, News, shanghai, Social, USA, World | Comments Off on Intel to close China Shanghai plant amid global crisis: statement

20 million job losses in China caused by downturn, says Chinese official

Posted by Author on February 3, 2009


By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing and Geoff Dyer in London, The Financial Times, February 2 2009 –

More than 20m rural migrant workers in China have lost their jobs and returned to their home villages or towns as a result of the global economic crisis, government figures revealed on Monday.

By the start of the Chinese new year festival on January 25, 15.3 per cent of China’s 130m migrant workers had lost their jobs and left coastal manufacturing centres to return home, said officials quoting a survey from the agriculture ministry.

The job losses were a direct result of the global economic crisis and its impact on export-oriented manufacturers, said Chen Xiwen, director of the Office of Central Rural Work Leading Group. He warned that the flood of unemployed migrants would pose challenges to social stability in the countryside.

The figure of 20m unemployed migrants does not include those who have stayed in cities to look for work after being made redundant and is substantially higher than the figure of 12m that Wen Jiabao, premier, gave to the Financial Times in an interview on Sunday. Speaking on a visit to the UK on Monday, Mr Wen said there had been signs at the end of last year the Chinese economy might be starting to recover.

In a speech at Cambridge University later, he warned that the global economy could face further problems. “The crisis has not yet hit the bottom, and it is hard to predict what other problems there will be down the path,” he said. Governments should avoid any policies that allowed them to “progress at the expense of others”, he added.

Mr Wen’s speech was interrupted by a protester who called him a “dictator” and threw a shoe at the stage – an act reminiscent of the Iraqi journalist who threw shoes at George W. Bush, former US president, at a press conference in Baghdad last year. Police said they had arrested the man……. (more details from The Financial Times: Downturn causes 20m job losses in China)

Posted in China, Economy, employment, Life, News, People, Social, World | Comments Off on 20 million job losses in China caused by downturn, says Chinese official

In China, out-of-work migrants destabilizing

Posted by Author on January 24, 2009


Anna Mehler Paperny, Chronicle Foreign Service, the San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, January 23, 2009-

On a recent Sunday morning, the scene on the K290 train heading west from Shanghai to China’s rural heartland was one of chaos.

The hard-seat cars teemed with passengers, many of them migrant workers fighting to place their baggage in overhead compartments or find space to sit in the aisles.

Chun yun, or spring festival transport, is the world’s largest human migration, involving hundreds of millions of people annually traveling home before the Lunar New Year. But this year, migrants returning home before the Year of the Ox begins Monday got an early start after hundreds of thousands of workers lost their city jobs.

Work drying up

“There is no work,” said Yang Nan, who returned to Sichuan province last month with her husband, Gou Zong Hai, and their 10-month-old daughter, Zhao Yin, after working in the eastern city of Wuxi. The occasional construction work that Gou relied on to feed the family dried up during an economic crisis that is closing factories throughout China’s industrial heartland.

As global recession slows demand for cheap consumer goods – whose export has fueled China’s breakneck economic growth for nearly three decades – the government is facing waves of factory closures and layoffs. In 2008, 670,000 small and medium-size businesses closed, laying off an estimated 10 million people, mostly migrant workers, according to the ministry of human resources and social security.

The government of agricultural Henan province announced that 3.7 million jobless migrants recently returned. In industrial Guangdong province, by contrast, more than 600,000 migrants have left for home, and the provincial governor says another 1 million could leave in coming months as more businesses close or lay off employees.

Some observers are worried that an army of unemployed workers could spark widespread social unrest.

Destabilizing force

“If these people organize, it could be quite different than what happened in ’89,” said Melissa Thomas, a partner in the Shanghai office of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, an international law firm that advises foreign companies doing business in China, referring to the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square that left as many as 3,000 dead or injured. “These are people who feel they have nothing to lose, because there’s nothing for them. The government is really aware of that.” …… (more details from the San Francisco Chronicle)

Posted in China, East China, Economy, employment, Life, News, People, shanghai, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on In China, out-of-work migrants destabilizing

As China’s Jobless Numbers Mount, Protests Grow Bolder

Posted by Author on January 14, 2009


By Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post Foreign Service, Tuesday, January 13, 2009 –

BEIJING — For months, the Communist Party had been able to deflect anger about factory closings toward the companies themselves. The party managed to come off as the benevolent savior by handing out cash to make up for unpaid salaries. The strategy stopped working at the Jianrong Suitcase Factory in late December.

When offered 60 percent of their wages to disband their protest and go home, the workers pushed back at riot police sent to keep them locked in their factory compound in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan. According to several witnesses, more than 100 irate workers broke through the cordon, some shouting, “There are no human rights here!”

As a global recession takes hold and China’s economy continues to slow, growing legions of unemployed workers are becoming increasingly bold in expressing their unhappiness — expanding a debate over how to protect the Chinese economy into long-fought disputes over other issues such as freedom of expression and equality before the law.

During most of the past two decades, concerns about China’s human rights record have been overshadowed by the speed of its economic development and growing political influence in the world.

But as the economic crisis has grown, so, too, have challenges — both small and large — to the state’s power.

In late November, two men whose village was involved in a dispute over a land deal took ink-filled eggs and desecrated Communist Party and national flags in Chongqing, the largest of China’s four provincial-level municipalities, in a protest that copied the infamous defacing of Mao Zedong’s portrait in the capital in 1989.

In December, 300 academics and other intellectuals signed a declaration of human rights known as Charter ’08 that circulated on the Internet, sending Chinese authorities on a nationwide manhunt for its author.

Labor rights activist Li Qiang said China’s economic problems have put the spotlight on social issues that have long existed — such as the growing gap between the urban rich and the rural poor and the fight for worker rights — but were played down by the government during the recent boom.

“The crisis in the West is purely economic. But in China it’s a huge political problem,” said Li, director of the New York-based China Labor Watch.

The ripple effects of the sharp economic downturn are growing: Crime is rising, as are labor strikes by taxi drivers, teachers, factory workers and even investors unhappy that their stock market holdings are now 70 percent off their peak.

Although Chinese authorities have been able to quickly disband the recent protests, there is concern that a single national-level event, if mishandled by authorities, could lead to a serious political crisis.

“Without doubt, we are entering a peak period for mass incidents. In 2009, Chinese society may face even more conflicts and clashes that will test even more the governing abilities of all levels of the party and government,” Huang Huo, a reporter for the state-run New China News Agency, warned this month in a magazine published by the news service……. (more details from Washington Post)

Posted in China, Economy, employment, Human Rights, Life, News, People, Politics, Rural, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on As China’s Jobless Numbers Mount, Protests Grow Bolder

The End of China’s Miracle?

Posted by Author on January 9, 2009


John Pomfret, Washington Post, USA, on January 8, 2009 –

Times are tough in the United States. It seems that they’re even tougher in China.

An official Chinese magazine this week predicted a massive increase in protests because of the global economic downturn. It reported that 10 million people, originally from the countryside, have been fired from their jobs in factories mostly on China’s eastern coast. Another 8 million people are officially registered as unemployed. Meantime, a record number of people will enter the workforce this year, including more than 6 million who have graduated from high school or college. 2009, the magazine said, will be the toughest year in China in recent memory.

The piece, published by Liaowang, a magazine owned by the state-run New China News Agency, detailed a “perfect storm” of economic problems in China’s cities — factory closures and the non-payment of salaries to millions of employees — cascading into China’s rural areas, sparking land disputes as millions of recently-fired factory workers flood home.This perfect storm, the piece said, would “inflict a new pressure on our country’s social stability and harmony.”

What’s that mean in English? Well, the article provided a few statistics. Labor protests jumped 93.52 percent in the first 10 months of 2008 over same period in 2007. In one city alone, the capital Beijing no less, protests to demand the back payment of salaries (Chinese employers routinely rip off their workers to the tune of an estimated $4 billion a year nationwide) increased 300 percent and the people participating went up 900 percent in November when compared to the same month a year earlier.

The prevailing narrative about China in the United States is that the Communist Party is secure in power and that while the economic downturn will cause trouble, the party will probably muddle through. The party is launching its own version of an economic stimulus package, with big infrastructure spending planned and loads of job creation schemes.

However, a lot of us — even China wonks — forget that China is not the United States and that its political system is inherently unstable. Yes, the party has amassed more than $1 trillion in foreign exchange, giving it serious wiggle room to spend its way out of the current crisis. Yes, it’s also garnered some goodwill for putting on the Olympic Games, its space shots and its seemingly rapid response to last year’s earthquake. And, yes, China’s younger generation seems a lot less interested in questioning the party’s legitimacy thanks to years of mind-numbing “Patriotic Education” and ever-increasing opportunity.

But because so much happening in China occurs within the “black box” of state-censored information and the seemingly leak-free walls of party central at Zhongnanhai, we are no doubt missing a big part of the story. And, if you believe (as I do) that China’s state-run press never reports things are as bad as they really are, the Liaowang article is grim news indeed and should be a wake-up call for all of those prognosticators and pundits who think somehow that the laws of gravity don’t apply to the People’s Republic of China.

Washington Post

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China’s graduates fight for a future as economy slows down

Posted by Author on January 2, 2009


By Chris Hogg, BBC News, from Beijing, 2 January 2009 –

China’s graduates will find it tougher than ever to get jobs in the coming year, as China’s economy slows down and unemployment rises.

Experts say a chronic over-supply of graduates and a shortage of “high end” jobs had already been causing difficulties, but the mass lay-offs and business closures in recent months has made the situation even worse.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has told students that the problem of graduate employment is “at the top of the government’s agenda”.

Six and a half million graduates in China will be looking for a job over the next year.

The government says it is going to try to create nine million jobs for them and for those from previous years who are still unemployed.

That will not be easy though. Economic growth in China is expected by some to fall below the figure of 8%, cited by many as the minimum needed to continue to create enough jobs.

There are three problems for the new graduates to cope with.

Firstly the economic slowdown here means there are fewer jobs available.

Secondly widespread redundancies mean there are more experienced people than there might have been in previous years, trying to secure the same jobs as them.

Thirdly there are many graduates from previous years who are still jobless……. (more details from BBC News)

Posted in China, Economy, Education, employment, Life, News, People, Social, Student, World | Comments Off on China’s graduates fight for a future as economy slows down

Outlook worsens for China jobs and industry

Posted by Author on December 21, 2008


By Jason Subler, Reuters, Dec 19, 2008 –

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s jobless rate could spike next year as the economy slows sharply, one official warned on Friday, while another stuck to an optimistic view of growth that banks and international bodies increasingly question.

The differing views illustrated the uncertainty hanging over the world’s fourth-largest economy, and one of the main engines for global growth, buffeted by the financial crisis and a serious downturn at home.

Friday, the Royal Bank of Scotland slashed its forecast for 2009 gross domestic product growth to 5 percent, from 8 percent, the lowest of the major banks. IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said earlier this week it could cut its 2009 China growth forecast to around 5 percent from 8.5 percent.

Chen Quansheng, an adviser to the State Council, or cabinet said about 6.7 million jobs had already vanished this year after 670,000 small firms closed under pressure from the global financial crisis.

That puts the real number of unemployed well above the official figure of 8.3 million, he said.

“The real employment situation is much more grave than the official statistics, which only show the registered urban jobless numbers,” Chen told a forum in Beijing, urging further support for labor-intensive industries to help create jobs.

RBS said social tensions could boil up as household consumption, residential investment and exports all sink, making it hard to meet the 8 percent growth needed to create enough jobs to soak up the millions joining the workforce annually……. (more details from Reuters)

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Taiwan Company to cut more than 30,000 jobs in China

Posted by Author on December 21, 2008


The Taipei Times, Taiwan, Saturday, Dec 20, 2008 –

Hon Hai Group (鴻海集團)
chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) said yesterday the economic downturn was three times worse than expected, and the company would reduce its worldwide workforce in response to deteriorating conditions.

Gou’s remark came amid mounting speculation that the world’s largest contract maker of electronics, along with its wireless networking equipment affiliate Cybertan Technology Inc (建漢科技), will both trim between 10 percent and 15 percent of their workforces, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) reported yesterday.

The report said Hon Hai’s Hong Kong-traded unit Foxconn International Holdings Ltd’s (富士康國際) planned to axe 1,500 staff at its Hungarian plant, and reduce its workforce at its Chinese operations by 5 percent, or between 30,000 and 40,000 people.

“Hon Hai’s job cuts plan is global due to the harsh economic conditions,” Gou told reporters yesterday at a charity event.

He did not specify the number of cuts.

A local Hon Hai engineer axed by the company, however, told the Taipei Times that around 70 Taiwanese employees lost their jobs yesterday, accounting for about 10 percent of the company’s 600-person workforce in Taiwan.

The engineer, who wished to remain anonymous, said the company gave no previous hint that it would slash local manpower, adding that yesterday’s cut could be just the beginning of a series of job cuts at the company……. (more from The Taipei Times)

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China jobless “much more grave” than official figure, says state adviser

Posted by Author on December 20, 2008


Reuters, Dec 19, 2008 –

BEIJING (Reuters) – The real number of unemployed in China is much more severe than statistics show after 670,000 small firms closed this year under pressure from the global financial crisis, an adviser to China’s cabinet said on Friday.

About 6.7 million jobs vanished, many in the export hub of Guangdong, pushing unemployment well above the official figure of 8.3 million, State Council adviser Chen Quansheng said at a forum in Beijing.

Rising unemployment has fed Beijing’s fears of unrest as forecasts for China’s growth next year fall below 8 percent, seen as a minimum to maintain social stability.

“The real employment situation is much more grave than the official statistics, which only show the registered urban jobless number,” he said.

Chen urged official support for labour-intensive industries to create jobs lost to shrinking export demand and past government efforts to control growth.

Beijing last month began rushing out a $586 billion (390.3 billion pound) stimulus package focussed on infrastructure projects to boost domestic demand.

“The major conflict in China now is employment, especially for university graduates and young migrant workers,” Chen said.

Urban unemployment has risen to about 9.4 percent, double the official figure, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said in a report this week…… (more details from Reuters)

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China’s toy juggernaut goes off the rails

Posted by Author on December 20, 2008


Peter Goodspeed, The National Post, Canada,  December 19, 2008 –

Workers smash an office during a protest at Kaida toy factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province in November in a protest over lay-offs and pay. There were protests in three  provinces amid increasing factory closures and government concern about unrest. (REUTERS/Stringer )

Photo: Workers smash an office during a protest at Kaida toy factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province in November in a protest over lay-offs and pay. There were protests in three provinces amid increasing factory closures and government concern about unrest. (REUTERS/Stringer )

There’s trouble in Toyland this Christmas. China’s workshops have been hit by the growing worldwide recession and more than half of all its toy exporters – 3,631 companies – have been forced out of business.

As China celebrates the 30th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping’s initial economic reforms and its “opening up to the outside world,” the country’s leaders find themselves struggling with the worst deceleration of economic growth in a generation.

On Thursday, the ruling Communist Party threw itself a big party. At a triumphant ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, President Hu Jintao invoked Mr. Deng and emphasized the party’s unwavering focus on economic development. “Only development makes sense,” said Mr. Hu, quoting Mr. Deng.

The boom, which over three decades transformed an isolated and impoverished communist backwater into one of the world’s greatest economic success stories, is suddenly threatening to go bust.

An adviser to China’s cabinet yesterday revealed that 670,000 small firms closed this year. And about 6.7 million jobs vanished, many in the export hub of Guangdong, pushing unemployment well above the official figure of 8.3 million.

Meanwhile, September’s international credit crisis and the most devastating global financial turmoil in a century have combined to slash growth by almost half.

Construction projects are being suspended; consumer confidence is declining; car sales have crashed; property prices have plummeted; China’s stock markets have lost nearly 67% of their value; and the country is bracing for a harsh winter of more factory closures and mass layoffs.

Yin Weimin, China’s Social Security Minister, has described the unemployment situation as “critical” and said the impact of the world economic crisis is still unfolding.

He warns the economic slump will be felt hardest in the first quarter of 2009.

“The global economic crisis is picking up speed and spreading from developed to developing countries and the effects are becoming more and more pronounced here,” Mr. Yin declared in a recent speech. “Our economy is facing a serious challenge.”

Already, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries has said up to a quarter of the nearly 70,000 Hong Kong-owned factories in southern China could close in a worst-case scenario.

Across the border in Guangdong province, a region that has been transformed in 30 years from marshland and low-lying rice paddies into the world’s largest light-industrial zone, officials are predicting 9,000 of the 45,000 factories in Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen will close in the next three months.

That could see 2.7 million workers lose their jobs as overseas demand for consumer goods and clothes fades.

The government of Chongqing in Sichuan says as many as 180,000 migrant workers employed in coastal special economic zones may soon return home to look for work.

The World Bank recently predicted China’s growth may slow to 7.5% next year, the lowest since 1990 and the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. Yesterday, the Royal Bank of Scotland and IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn were predicting China’s gross domestic product growth next year would be about five per cent.

Bank experts still predict China’s economy will grow by 9.4% this year, but that is down from nearly 12% in 2007.

Chinese economists insist their country’s economy needs to grow by at least 8% a year simply to provide jobs for the 24 million people who enter the workforce every year.

But while all the economic indicators predict gloom, China’s leaders fear chaos. Violent strikes and protests are soaring as the threat of rising joblessness raises the spectre of social instability.

Last month, hundreds of workers rioted at a toy factory in Dongguan, 80 kilometres north of Hong Kong, in a dispute over severance payments……. (more details from The National Post)

Posted in Business, China, Commentary, Company, Economy, employment, Guangdong, Life, News, Opinion, People, SE China, Social, Toy, Worker, World | 1 Comment »

Hundreds of workers riot in south China over unemployment: report

Posted by Author on November 27, 2008


AFP, Nov. 26, 2008-

GUANGZHOU, China (AFP)
— Hundreds of laid off workers rioted in southern China amid a dispute over severance pay, smashing offices of a toy factory and clashing with police, state press said Wednesday.

The unrest in Guangdong province, the heartland of China’s export-oriented light industry, is the latest in a series of protests that have flared across the country amid rising unemployment linked to the global economic crisis.

The riot occurred Tuesday night in Dongguan, one of Guangdong’s major export hubs, after as many as 2,000 workers gathered to protest over their severance pay, the Guangzhou Daily reported.

“(Rioters) smashed one police vehicle and four police patrol cars… fought with security guards… and entered factory offices breaking windows and destroying equipment,” the paper said.

Five people were injured in the violence, it said, with the report also published on a news website run by the government. There were no reports of arrests.

The riot occurred at the Kaida Toy Factory, a company owned by a Hong Kong firm in Dongguan’s Zhongtang township that is in the process of laying off workers, according to the Guangzhou Daily.

The report said that up to 500 workers rioted, while 1,500 others “looked on.”…… (more details from AFP)

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Factories shut as economic crisis hits China

Posted by Author on November 19, 2008


By James Reynolds, BBC News, Guangdong province, southern China, Nov. 19, 2008-

Outside the An Jia baby cot factory in Dongguan, a group of factory workers surrounds a single policeman on a motorbike.

“Where are the three people you arrested?” they shout at him. “Give them back to us!”

The officer looks uneasy and he decides to retreat.

Right now, factory workers here are angry. The world’s financial crisis has begun to hit them.

It is easy to understand why: since the West can’t afford to buy as much, China isn’t able to sell as much. In better times, the An Jia factory would ship its baby cots to the US. But now its workers say the US has stopped buying. Their wages have been cut by up to 75%.

One man waves two wage slips, typed on small pieces of paper. The slip for May shows that he earned 2,523 yuan ($370; £248) that month. The slip for September shows that his earnings were cut to 445 yuan ($65).

“Our boss wants us to bail him out,” shouts Li San Le, one of the workers.

“When things were good, the boss didn’t give us a raise, but now that he’s in trouble, he wants us to rescue him,” adds a woman standing in the crowd.

Jobs dry up

At a nearby job market, groups of men stand around looking gloomy. Mr Lou, a craftsman, needs a new job. This is the first time he has ever had to go out and find one.

“What kind of pay are you looking for?” the job market organiser asks him.

“I know things are tough – but I need a job which pays more than 3,000 yuan.”

“You won’t get that here,” the organiser replies.

Men like Mr Lou have spent their lives working in a country which never seemed to run out of jobs or money. But now things have changed.

This year growth has slowed, and more than 60,000 businesses have closed down. Reports say that more than 50% of toy factories have closed down.

In the corner of one abandoned furniture factory in Dongguan, there is a pile of half-finished table legs. The only person at work is a woman quietly collecting bits of wood to sell as scrap.

Outside the factory, the workers’ dormitories are empty. Cheap posters of Chinese pop stars are still stuck to the wall – many of those who used to work here were teenagers who had come in from the countryside to get a better life.

Going home

Next door, a shoe factory is still going. Workers pack up boxes of sandals to be shipped to Europe.

“Everyone is quite worried. Not just owners, but workers as well,” says Sergio Sum, the director of Top Sun Manufacturing Co Ltd.

Many workers are now having to go back home to their villages.

Amid the queues of passengers at Guangzhou railway station, one group of young women sits on top of piles of bags and cases. Each of them has the same frizzy hairstyle.

One sends text messages on her mobile phone, which is decorated with pendants. These women used to work in a television factory, until the factory started running out of cash.

“We used to work overtime,” says one of the workers, who declines to give her name. “But then, we were told to work one day and take one or two days off. Finally, we weren’t even getting a basic salary.”

The long lines at this railway station will make China’s government nervous.

The Communist Party has stayed in power partly because it has made poor people richer. But now the world’s financial crisis has arrived.

So, what happens in this country if hundreds of millions of workers no longer feel they can get a better life?

– BBC News: Factories shut as crisis hits China

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China: iron ore mine disaster – a tragically familiar story

Posted by Author on September 21, 2008


China Labour Bulletin, Hong Kong, 18 Sep 2008-

The Xiangfen mining disaster that killed at least 260 people on 8 September is a tragically familiar testimony to the inability of the Chinese government to enforce its own safety standards.

The Tashan iron ore mine in Shanxi’s Xiangfen county had been operating without valid licenses, the mine’s liquid iron ore dump was built illegally and had not been properly inspected. Local residents alleged that mine owners knew the dump was filled to overcapacity and was unsafe long before its retaining wall burst sending a devastating torrent of sludge into Yunhe village, with a population of 1,300, mostly migrant workers.

Local residents claimed last week that local government officials underreported the death toll in the immediate aftermath of the disaster and that actual figure could be as high as 800. Provincial officials at first dismissed the claims as “mere speculation” but on September 17, a spokesman for the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) said Beijing was investigating allegations that the local authorities deliberately underreported the death toll by 51.

Thus far, 13 officials from the Tashan Mining Co have been taken into police custody, and several local government officials have been suspended. In addition, the governor of Shanxi province, Meng Xuenong, has been forced to resign. “What were the local authorities been doing while such an [illegal] mine functioned right under their noses?” SAWS spokesman Huang Yi told Xinhua News Agency. “Investigation into possible corruption is a must,” he said.

As CLB has shown in its research report Bone and Blood: The Price of Coal in China, mine owners and local officials throughout China have created an almost impenetrable network of collusion that prevents the central government’s well-intentioned safety measures from being enforced. Collusion is particularly intense in poor areas of China, rich in natural resources, which can be exploited for vast profits but at a terrible cost to the local population and environment……. ( more details from China Labour Bulletin)

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Thousands of Workers From Two Factories Protest For Welfare Issues in Southern China

Posted by Author on April 16, 2008


By Gu Qing’er, Epoch Times Staff, Apr 10, 2008-Workers protest (1) Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory

On April 7 and 8, thousands of workers employed at the Huayun Machinery Factory and the Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory, both in Hunan Province, had a sit-in protest inside the facilities. Workers demanded that their employers follow state policies and resolve their welfare issues such as wage compensation and placement fees. The protest went peacefully.

(photo at right: Workers protest in Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory/the epochtimes)

At 7:30 a.m. on April 7, workers of the Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory started a sit-in protest in the factory. At 9:30 a.m., workers of the Huayun Machinery Factory did the same. A banner hanging at the front door of the Huayun Factory said “We strongly demand that provincial or municipal commissioners send a team to investigate corruption in the factory,” “Workers protecting theirWorkers protest (2) Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory legal rights.”

A worker from the Huayun factory, who wishes to remain anonymous said, “Everyone out there did it out of his/her own will. About 1,000 people from our factory and 2,000 people from the Changsha factory participated. This protest involves everyone’s rights. We all went. The workers sat there from 8 a.m. until the time they usually get off work.”

(photo at rights: large protest banner at Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory/the epochtimes)

The workers want their compensation, placement fee, redundancy pay, and medical care, which they are entitle to by law, but the companies failed to provide. The workers want the local government to solve these problems.

One worker said, “This is a problem caused by the state owned enterprise reform. There are very few factories in Changsha now. Factories here used to make a lot of profit but [during the economic reform] corrupted officials came in and left workers with little money. Most people get several hundred yuan retirement pension and some have even less. The cost of living is so high now. We can’t take it anymore.”

A Changsha factory sales department worker told the reporter, “We were a state owned enterprise, butWorkers protest (3) Huayun Machinery Factory during the reform, the compensation given the workers was too little. Some retired employees and those who had to leave after a certain age blocked the factory’s entrance [to protest].”

On April 7, the local police and the joint defense team came to the protest scene. No police came on April 8. The local government did not send a representative to talk to the protesters.

(photo at rights: workers protest at Huayun Machinery Factory/the epochtimes)

The Huayun Machinery Factory in Hunan Province was a middle-size military enterprise. It was established in 1974 and there used to be over 1,000 employees. The company declared bankruptcy July 2007.

The Changsha Heavy Machinery Factory was a state owned large enterprise established in 1958. Its main products were bucket wheel excavators including dozens of kinds of bucket wheel stacker-reclaimers and blending stacker-reclaimers. The factory employed over 10,000 in the past. After the reform, about 2,000 employees now work in the factory.

– Original report from The Epochtimes
: Thousands of Workers Protest in Southern China

Posted in Business, Changsha, China, Company, corruption, Economy, employment, Health, Hunan, Law, Life, News, People, Protest, Social, Worker, World | Comments Off on Thousands of Workers From Two Factories Protest For Welfare Issues in Southern China

China: 130 Smelt Workers Fired After Blood Tests Show High Lead Levels

Posted by Author on March 19, 2008


The Epoch Times, Mar 16, 2008-According to a report by the China Philanthropy Times, over 130 workers from a smelting plant located in Shaanxi Province were fired after blood tests confirmed high levels of lead in their blood.

In the report, one worker in his 40s, Zhang Hansen, blood tests showed a lead level of 1124 µg/L. A normal amount of lead would be less than 400 µg/L (1.9 µmol/L). He has worked in the Shaanxi Metal Mines Company smelting plant for the past nine years, and in a high lead vapor and dust environment. He is now in the hospital and is extremely weak.

Currently, there are more than 130 workers in the company exhibiting varying degrees of high lead levels in their blood. Through blood tests, it was found that the lowest was around 500 µg/L, but 90 percent had blood lead levels that were higher than 600 µg/L.

Zhang Hansen said, “The company made many attempts to create a green environment three years ago. The results were poor and none of the trees that were planted survived.”

According to hospital staff, these workers suffer from chronic lead poisoning. Treatment for lead poisoning includes administering medication to help flush out the lead and supplements to replenish other minerals such as calcium and iron that are flushed out along with the lead.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Most worker’s blood test results are normal.” When asked why it had become so serious at this time, he suggested: “It’s probably because the out-of-date facilities at the hospital led to inaccurate test results.”

The workers who were fired have applied to the Feng County Labor Dispute Arbitration Committee to have the company pay their pensions, medical insurance, and housing savings funds. They also asked that the company provide expert medical treatment for their occupational disease and to reimburse any related costs and losses.

Original report from the Epochtimes

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Activist Details Labor Abuses Against Chinese Teachers

Posted by Author on January 17, 2008


By Sean Cavanagh, Education Week News, MD, Jan. 16, 2008-

Washington– As China’s economy surges, many of the workers powering that growth are coping with low wages, scarce legal protections, and poor on-the-job conditions—not just in the nation’s mines and factories, but also in its classrooms, a leading labor advocate contends.

Han Dongfang, who took part in the Tiananmen Square protests and now directs a Chinese labor-rights organization, detailed those concerns about the rights of educators and other workers at a Washington event this week, which coincided with the release of a pair of reports on labor conditions in China.

The reports describe growing concerns about labor abuses that advocates say have occurred with burgeoning privatization in the Asian nation, in both state-owned and newly emergent private industries.

Many teachers, particularly in rural areas, work for little pay and with few resources, and with no opportunity to improve their working conditions through organized labor, Mr. Han said.

China’s changing economy “plays a huge role,” Mr. Segal said. There’s been “a dismantling of the social-welfare net.”

There “are no bargaining rights at all,” he told reporters in Washington Jan.15. “Not only are teachers left behind, children are left behind.”

Mr. Han took part in the 1989 public protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, which were violently suppressed by the Chinese authorities. As a result of his activism, he says, he was later imprisoned for a period of nearly two years. He directs the China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based labor-rights group founded in 1994.

His appearance was arranged with help from the Albert Shanker Institute, a Washington nonprofit established by the American Federation of Teachers and named in honor of its late president. He spoke at the National Press Club about the release of two new reports: “A Cry for Justice: the Voices of Chinese Workers,” published by the institute, and “Speaking Out: The Workers’ Movement in China,”Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader issued by Mr. Han’s organization.

The reports include the accounts of workers in factories, coal mines, oilfields, and other industries who were interviewed by Mr. Han, institute officials said. From Hong Kong, Mr. Han conducts interviews with workers and peasants in China on a radio program, Radio Free Asia.

Teachers’ Unions Banned

China’s government has made a major push in recent years to expand access to education to rural and underserved populations, such as migrant families pouring into cities in search of work. It has also sought to replace the rote, test-dominated instruction in its schools, which serve an estimated 230 million K-12 students, with lessons that promote creativity and problem-solving.

Despite those pledges from the government, teachers in many areas of China, particularly rural and remote areas, have low wages—in some cases, the equivalent of about $12 U.S. per month, according to one of the reports. Since the economic reforms of the 1980s, the central Communist government in Beijing transferred more authority over education to local governments. But that transformation has spawned other problems, namely corruption, the Shanker Insitute report maintains.

“Teachers have traditionally enjoyed great respect in Chinese society because they belong to a revered group—the intelligentsia,” the institute’s report, “A Cry for Justice,” says. “Yet their elite social status hasn’t brought them economic rewards.”

Teachers in some parts of China have responded with public protests and strikes, the report says, and some have sought to organize teachers’ unions. But the government squelched many of those efforts, it says.

The Chinese government has over the years approved job protections for workers in various professions, including teaching, according to Mr. Han and information from his organization. But there is often no way to enforce those protections for workers because government officials ignore the violations, he said.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment about the reports or Mr. Han’s conclusions.

While it is sometimes difficult to gauge the exact motivations behind public demonstrations in China, there have been credible institute reports that the number has increased in recent years, with workplace conditions acting as a likely spark, said Adam Segal, a senior fellow in China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, in New York City.

Mr. Segal agreed with the report’s finding that free-market forces have contributed to instability, as workers have moved from state-controlled jobs to those with fewer government protections. The needs of China’s new industries, and the massive migration of workers, including teachers, from the countryside into cities have fueled those conditions, he added.

For teachers, “the issue is going to be pay and whether they’re being paid” at all, he said.

Original report from Education Week

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