Report: China Cops, Workers Scuffle
Nov. 05, 1999
BEIJING (AP) _ Police scuffled with unemployed factory workers as they protested in a central Chinese city Friday, detaining 10 of them and injuring five, a human rights group reported.
About 1,000 workers from the state-run Weinan city textile factory blocked three main roads for four days to protest their $12 a month unemployment stipends, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said. Fifty police sent to end the protest Friday fought with the workers, injuring five female demonstrators, the group said.
Protests by the unemployed have become an almost daily occurrence in China as attempts to reform nearly bankrupt state industries push millions out of work. Local governments have few funds to care for the unemployed and Beijing has yet to build a national social welfare system.
Weinan textile _ located in the impoverished hinterland of Shaanxi province 520 miles west of prosperous coastal markets such as Beijing _ shut down last year, putting 4,000 workers out of work, the center said.
Chinese leaders have tried bankruptcies, mergers, public listings, price controls and other measures to revitalize the debt-laden state sector, but have made slow progress after more than two years of reforms.