Jade Sellers’ Protest in China Repressed
Jade sellers in the town that is at the center of the jade industry in China protested in the thousands, but police violently dispersed the protest on its second day, with some arrests being made.
The protest started on the morning of Nov. 25 when thousands of stall renters at the Tian Guang Xu jade market of Zhaoqing City in Guangdong Province in southern China started a large-scale strike. They were protesting the most recent increase in the rent for their stalls.
The city government met with the protesters and claimed that the market owner had promised to negotiate with the stallholders at 9 a.m. the next day.
But the next day the owner never showed up. Some stall holders, angered and frustrated by what they believed was the market owner’s insincerity, smashed the management office and blocked the traffic on Sihui Boulevard.
On the afternoon of Nov. 26, hundreds of special police arrived. They gave a warning to the crowd to leave within 15 minutes, but then, after only 2 minutes had elapsed, began spraying the crowd with pepper spray and beating the protestors with batons. Many protestors were injured and more than a dozen people were arrested.
On the morning of Nov. 27, the protests continued, but with diminished numbers, as many of the stall holders were afraid. Several dozen plainclothes policemen showed up and arrested several stallholders. The police forcibly confiscated the cell phones of several people who tried to use their phones to video the incident.
Mr. Lin, a stallholder, told The Epoch Times that a majority of the 12,000 stall renters at the Tian Guang Xu Market participated in the protest on Nov. 25. At the peak shopping time, Lin estimated that up to 8,000 people took part.
Mr. Wu, who works at a jade factory, indicated that the rent has increased too much and too often, at least three times a year. He said that no one enjoyed protesting and that everyone only wishes to live a peaceful life with their hard earned money.
But the government not only ignored the problem, Mr. Wu said, but also suppressed the strike with violence. The stall renters suspect there is collusion between the government and the owners of the jade business that owns and rents shops to merchants, he said.
The Zhaoqing City jade market is in Sihui City, which is part of Zhaoqing City. Epoch Times reporters have attempted to call the Sihui City Hall, Sihui Information Industry, Sihui Jade Information Center, and Sihui Jade Dealer Center for comments, but no one answered the calls.
Sihui city is known as the town of Chinese Jade. Jade is a big business in Sihui city and has the the largest jade factory in China with one of the four largest jade wholesale businesses in Guangdong province. At present, there are more than 800 jade stores, 300 jade factories and 2,500 workshops, employing over 60, 000 people.