Nearly 10,000 Workers Protest Corruption in Luoyang City

September 20, 2007 Updated: September 20, 2007

For three days starting September 14, nearly 10,000 workers from Luoyang White Horse Group, Co., formerly the Luoyang Cotton and Textile Factory, demonstrated along Shachang Xi Street and Zhongzhou Street to protest corruption among the company leaders. Over 1,000 police were dispatched to suppress the movement. Police beat a number of workers.

During an interview on September 17, several workers told The Epoch Times that during a staff meeting last Friday, company executives stated that the company was in bankruptcy and would undergo restructuring. They would provide assistance of 1,220 yuan ($162) per year for each laid-off worker. Workers, who have long been dissatisfied with corporate corruption, gathered in groups to protest.

According to the workers, during the protest on September 17, company leaders asked workers to return to work. That evening, local television reported that the assistance was increased to 1,364 yuan per year. However, on the morning of September 18, Luoyang White Horse Group executives told workers that they would “definitely not increase the assistance.”

Mr. Liang, one of the protesting workers, said, “The company and the government are in cahoots with each other. They are playing 'good cop, bad cop' to fool us. Currently some workers have returned to work, but more workers are thinking of ways to continue the protest. With 1,220 a year, that's just about 100 yuan a month. How can one live on that? We also don't know how long the assistance will last.”

Phone calls to White Horse Group were unanswered.

Mr. Liang said, “In the last few days, almost all workers and their family members have come to demonstrate. We even blocked the street. The government sent a lot of police, including an anti-bomb squad, special forces, and plainclothes police. I think maybe every policeman in the city is here. There are at least 1,000 police.”

Ms. Xiao, another participant in the protest, said, “All the police from the city are here. They came in droves. Several workers were beaten, one was sent away in an ambulance.”

Mr. Zhao, another protester, said, “About ten workers were beaten. Then workers joined to protect each other. There was no large-scale bloodshed.”

Mr. Zhao also said that many workers tried to publish up-to-date information on the Internet, but the posts were deleted by the government immediately after posting.

Mr. Zhao said, “I hear that our company was acquired by a company called Desheng. Actually, restructuring and being in bankruptcy is just another way for them to make money. The purchaser and our company have some agreements. Leaders of our company first embezzle money from our company then declare bankruptcy. Through this process, state-owned assets became private property, and workers' compensation, assistance, and stock were stolen by the company executives. They also have silent permission from the government to do this.”

Luoyang White Horse Group engages in textiles, clothing, medicine, real estate, mechanical engineering, and trade transactions. It was previously known as the Luoyang Cotton and Textile Factory, founded in 1958. Currently Luoyang White Horse Group has 16 subsidiaries and over 10,000 employees.