Labor unrest surges in China



China’s ruling Communist Party is facing an upsurge in labor militancy and social unrest, notes China Digital Times:

Amid an economic downturn and a plan to streamline the state-owned sector, the Chinese government announced cuts in numerous industries that would result in up to six million layoffs in the next two to three years. Notably, the action will target “zombie” steel and coal plants that are running up a debt; in order to stave off social unrest as workers lose their jobs, the government has allocated 150 billion yuan ($23 billion) to cover unemployment in those two industries alone, according to a report by Benjamin Kang Lim, Matthew Miller, and David Stanway at Reuters.

In recent years, protests and strikes have been on the rise throughout China, at private enterprises as well as state-owned ones. In southern China, where textile and electronic factories predominate, layoffs have increased as factories relocate out of the country, notes Simon Denyer at The Washington Post, adds CDT, a grantee of the National Endowment for Democracy:

As worker protests increase, the government has waged an “unprecedented” crackdown on labor activists and independent labor organizationsdetaining seven activists in southern China in December. Three are still detained, including He Xiaobo and Zeng Feiyang, director of the Panyu Workers’ Center, who has been charged with “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.” Zeng’s supporters, however, say that the charges and other accusations against him are false. Jane Li and Steve Mollman at Quartz profile Zeng and his workRTWT

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