Recently, over 100 workers from the local Staple Foods Regulation Department (FSRD) in Huangbei district in Wuhan city, Hubei province, signed a proposal addressed to the governing bodies of their department, the Wuhan city Staple Foods bureau and Wuhan municipal party committee. They were announcing their collective withdrawal from the CCP.
Since 2000, after the FSRD (part of the government organizations and a state owned enterprise) announced its bankruptcy, these workers were illegally detained and beaten up by authorities for reporting state capital losses, corruption amongst cadres, requesting salary increments and appealing for their rights.
Administrator of a Pro-Kuomintang Internet social group (known as Wuhan Fanlan alliance group in Chinese) Sun Buer and several of its members Wan Li, Ni Jiangfeng, etc., formed a grassroots investigation team on March 25 and rushed to Huangbei district to verify this news.
A worker revealed that this mass resignation had alarmed high-level officials in Beijing. They are very nervous and might target the worker's representative. The situation is currently very tense, and some workers have been placed under house arrest and others have been detained.
Sun Buer and his companions arrived in Huangbei district on March 26 and met with Mr. Mei, who was the head of a local hospital and was previously sentenced to ten years of imprisonment as a result of some disputes during the CCP's so called “strike hard” campaign.
Mr. Mei, described his painful experience when the policemen forced him to kneel. He said he refused and told them, “I will kneel to heaven, to earth, to my parents, but why should I kneel to you?” The prison officer then handcuffed his arms and legs and forced him to kneel on the ground and kowtow to them. They also hit his forehead with a high voltage electric baton until he lost consciousness.
On the day of the investigation, one of the initiators of the collective withdrawal, Wan Huaiyan, was sent to an “education class” to “reform his thinking” and was therefore not contactable.
A dismissed worker told Sun Buer and his companions that there were many conflicts and complications after the restructuring of the Huangbei district Staple Foods Regulation Department. This incident of collective resignations was not a coincidence but a result of accumulated tensions between the workers and the rich and influential bureaucrats. Anticipation had turned into despondency and desperation. Finally the furious workers decided to sign a joint statement requesting to withdraw from the party membership. The application to withdraw from the party by more than 100 workers is the epitome of the masses' extreme dissatisfaction with the government.
The FSRD announced its bankruptcy in 2000 and immediately stopped giving out retirement payments, creating a furor among retired workers. More than 50 people representing the retired workers signed a joint request to the Staple Foods bureau asking them to resolve the matter but the bureaucrats refused, claiming that “the cadres have gone for a meeting” and could not meet with them.
A worker's representative at that time, Huang Changxi (former vice head of the Chengguan police station and subsequently transferred to the staple foods regulation department) exposed that the leaders who were supposedly away were actually present and they were playing mahjong in a restaurant and about to have a feast.
While the workers who had not any of the pension contribution were anxiously waiting for the leaders to come back from their meeting, the bureaucrats were having a feast and buying personal properties with public funds. Huang Changxi was very bitter. Zhou Xuhua, a former employee in charge of the FSRD angrily grabbed hold of Huang Changzi who is over sixty years old and viciously thrashed him against a stool, killing him on the spot.
The workers immediately informed the local media such as Chutian Metropolitan Post, Wuhan Evening, and Yangtze River Daily, but the reporters were too scared to come close to the scene and one by one turned around upon approaching Huangbei district.
Since then, tensions between the workers and bureaucrats have deepened. The tensions revolve around two main reasons.
First, because the assets of the department worth US$740,700 were sold at about US$86,400, the workers suspected this was a fraudulent transaction and the huge profits were embezzled by the bureaucrats and used to indulge in pleasure-seeking and purchasing personal properties.
Second, regarding workers' salaries, basic living expenses that should be given out to early retirement workers were inadequate, not distributed or delayed. Part of the compensation monies for workers buyout were used to pay off pension monies that should have been paid by the department. Medical insurance and other welfare benefits that retired employees were entitled to were not given out.
The workers felt that benefits accruing to them, regardless of whether it was a workers buyout, early retirement or retired workers gratuity, were secretly embezzled by the rich and influential bureaucrats.
Sun Buer said, “We will continue to pay close attention to ensuing responses to the collective withdrawals from the party requests of 100 workers from Huangbei district Food Staples Regulation Department.”