November 08, 2005

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Down and out in Shenzhen

I'm off to Shenzhen on Friday, which could be interesting in light of today's SCMP story. It's got the typical Chinese mix: unpaid workers, riot police, a corrupt and bankrupt company, and a press crackdown:

Riot police came to the defence of the mayor of Shenzhen after a meeting with former PLA engineers over compensation ended with the workers trying to stop him from leaving. Mayor Xu Zongheng held the urgent meeting last night at a local school in Futian district with more than 3,000 workers of a state-owned enterprise. The workers - most of them former members of the People's Liberation Army's engineer corps - were angry about the compensation they received during the latest state-owned enterprise reform. They also demanded the authorities release two colleagues arrested last week for arguing with government officials.

The mayor promised to revise the compensation scheme and pleaded with the workers to call off their protest. He also said the new company would not sack any of those involved in the protests in the next three years. But the workers were not satisfied. They booed the mayor when he left the school and tried to block his car. Riot police were rushed in to disperse the crowd. Several hundred workers then marched to the nearby police station and shouted slogans demanding the release of the two arrested workers...

The incident was hugely embarrassing to the Shenzhen government, which had tried to clamp down on coverage of the dispute. Several Hong Kong reporters were detained on Sunday for covering the protest and were not released until 3am yesterday.

...the construction company was badly managed and riddled with corruption. The Shenzhen government decided to turn it into a private business last year. Mr Li said auditors sent in to examine the company's books found it on the brink of bankruptcy and much of its money was missing. He said the company's senior management disappeared, leaving behind huge debts.

Photo below the jump, my emphasis in the story. The instinct for Chinese governments remains to clampdown, to supress, to cover-up. But the story still got out and in this era of mobile phones and the internet, supression won't always work. Even if you're the mayor of Shenzhen.


posted by Simon on 11.08.05 at 09:00 AM in the China politics category.


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PLA employees protest over compensation
Excerpt: The unlinkable South China Morning Post has a rather interesting story this morning on riot police in Shenzhen moving in to free the mayor "after a meeting with former PLA [People's Liberation Army] engineers over compensation ended with the workers ...
Weblog: CSR Asia - Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia
Tracked: November 8, 2005 10:56 AM


Thanks for posting this. I'm trying to trackback to it, but there seems to be a glitch in the system, even manually. Good work.

posted by: Sam_S(ShenzhenRen) on 11.08.05 at 11:27 AM [permalink]

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