Violent Suppression of Workers' Protest

By Huang Qi, China Tianwang Center for Human Right Affairs
December 25, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: December 25, 2006 12:00 am

According to information provided by a June 4th Rights Advocate Website reporter, at 19:30 on December 24, in the neighborhood of a clothing manufacturing factory, several hundred workers, mostly young females, gathered to demand two months wages totaling about 400,000 Yuan (about $50,000 USD) owed by the factory owner Zhou Gonglu.

According to some workers, Hangzhou Pushu Clothing Co., Ltd. was an underground factory operating without a license. Currently, the owner Zhou Gonglu has disappeared.

By 19:40 on December 23, the authorities mobilized over 40 policemen in seven to eight police vehicles to quell the protest after nearly a thousand people gathered at the scene.

It is reported that in the chaos, the police arrested six workers named Xie Fushen, Ma Xianling, Cao Xuehua, Cao Lan, Liu Zhangjian and Cao Yuan. Amongst them, three workers – Xie Fusheng, Liu Zhangjian and Cao Yuan, were injured.

During an interview, a worker told the June 4th website reporter that the police sprayed unknown gas on protestors' faces which caused them to lose their eye sight temporarily.

Because the workers have not received their wages for a long time, in the last few days, many workers have been kicked out from their rented homes by the landlord. Some of them have not eaten for three days. Workers told the reporter, “more than 100 of us will have to spend the night on the streets tonight.”

Also according to witnesses Zhu Yufu and Mr. Yang Jianmin, several hundred workers participated in the protest. The authorities mobilized over 40 policemen to stop the protest. During the suppression, policemen grabbed the girls' hair and bashed their heads on the police cars.

Recently, the infringement of worker's rights in Zhejiang province has caused many protests and strikes. But the authorities have dealt with these using brutal suppression.