Thousands March to Beijing to Protest
Several thousand workers in the Hebei Baoding Yimian Group Co., Ltd. marched in protest to Beijing on April 3, after staging a strike towards the end of March. The authorities intercepted most of the workers with a large amount of police.
As of 7 p.m. on April 4, the workers arrived at Xushui Town, which is about 25 kilometers (approx. 16 miles) from Baoding City. Local officials and police are at a standoff with the marching workers.
So far, most of the petitioners were stopped by local officials and have returned to Baoding City. However, the workers benefits' issue with the factory remains unresolved.
The communist regime’s mouthpiece, Xinhua News, made an unusual move by publishing a report in English stating that “more than 1,000 people began a 140-kilometer hike from Baoding city, in China's Hebei Province to Beijing on Friday to protest against job losses at a textile company,” and that “the protesters with luggage headed to Beijing along National Road 107 on foot and by bicycle.”
Xinhua cited an unknown protester as saying that about 4,000 employees joined the march.
In addition, Chinanews.com also reported the event. However, the report claimed that the workers went to Beijing for sightseeing.
Despite being forced to return to Baoding by the local authorities, protesters vowed that they would fight for their rights to the end.
Mr. Liu told The Epoch Times, “We were all sent back home at around 1 a.m. this morning (April 4). We were exhausted from the past two days. Yesterday some workers passed out and were hospitalized. There were police cars on both sides of the road. There were about seventy to eighty police cars. There was a large police force on the roads in Xushui Town. There were so many policemen. Armed policemen formed three lines to block workers from passing. There were seven to eight hundred policemen. They were all young and strong policemen and they took away old men and women.”
Yimian Group workers staged a massive strike beginning on April 3, in an effort to stop the factory owner from transferring equipment to another location. Several thousand workers surrounded the factory day and night.
The strike came about because the workers learned in late March that the factory had been secretly sold to a new owner without their knowledge. Out of the three to four thousand workers, less than one hundred will keep their jobs and work at a new factory, which is run by the China Textile Industry Department.
The workers demanded that the local authorities provide a reasonable explanation on several issues, including an illegal transfer of management of the Yimian Group, severe losses of state property, withholding unemployed workers’ compensation, pension and insurance issues. The workers also demanded the authorities audit Yimian’s assets before and after the change in management.