Migrant Worker Riots In Southern China Intensify

In an indication of the prevailing popular mood among the key marginal economic force in China - its migrant worker population - hundreds of protesters rioted in the southern China city of Gunaghzou after a young pregnant street hawker was harassed by security guards, media reports said Monday. From Reuters: "Hong Kong television showed seething crowds of migrant workers from the southwestern province of Sichuan running through the streets of Zengcheng, smashing windows, setting fire to government buildings and overturning police vehicles. Riot police were shown firing tear gas Sunday night, deploying armoured vehicles to disperse the crowds and handcuffing protesters. Witnesses said there were more than 1,000 protesters and at least one government office had been besieged. "People were running around like crazy," a shopowner in the area told the South China Morning Post newspaper. "I had to shut the shop by 7 p.m. and dared not come out." While China reported slowing monetary conditions, with a miss in both the M2 and loan issuance in May, it is unclear what the Chinese equivalents of Bernanke's 15 minutes to Inflation: OFF is: as a reminder the upcoming CPI print is expected to come at a record 5.5%, which is the only piece of data that truly matters in China. If inflation continues its runaway rise, whether due to climatic conditions, or importing Bernanke's monetary policies, expect to see many more stories of violent popular unrest.

From Reuters:

Thousands of riots, protests and other forms of unrest break out across China each year, with fast economic growth sometimes amplifying grievances over problems ranging from rampant inflation to corruption, a big wealth gap, industrial pollution, forced demolitions and abuse of power.

News reports said the incident in Zengcheng was sparked on Friday night when security personnel in nearby Dadun village pushed pregnant hawker Wang Lianmei, 20, to the ground while trying to clear her off the streets.

"The case was just an ordinary clash between street vendors and local public security people, but was used by a handful of people who wanted to cause trouble," Zengcheng Mayor Ye Niuping was quoted as saying by the China Daily newspaper.

Other clashes have erupted in southern China in recent weeks, including in Chaozhou, where hundreds of migrant workers demanding payment of their wages at a ceramics factory attacked government buildings and set vehicles ablaze.

And, as a reminder, here are the latest directives from the Chinese Ministry of Truth, or the stuff they really don't want everyone else to know.

May 31

Beijing: War Time Coordination Mechanism of Intelligence and Information for Maintaining Stability during the June 4th Sensitive Period

From the Beijing Municipal Government internal document “War Time Coordination Mechanism of Intelligence and Information for Maintaining Stability during the June 4th Sensitive Period” … All units are requested to collect and report information regarding potential treats to stability of the Capital as well as all work unit activities conducted during this sensitive period.


May 29

Few Examples of Today’s Banned Keywords (usually phrases) for Sina’s Micro-blogging site:

“Inner Mongolia” (and its abbreviation in Chinese), “Xiwu County” (part of Xilinhot), “Mo Rigeng” (an Inner Mongolia resident), “Ethnic Minority Protesting in Inner Mongolia,” “Ethnic Conflicts between Han Majority and Mongol Minority,” “Student Protest,” “Hohhot” (Capital of Inner Mongolia)

[All of the aforementioned keywords are in response to the series of protests by ethnic Mongolians against the killing of a Mongolian herder by Han Chinese.”]

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May 28

From a Provincial Internet Administration Office: Reporting of news related to the recent ethnic conflicts between Mongol minority and Han majority in Xilinhot or Foxconn’s new suicide incident are prohibited. No discussion of any form on all micro-blogging sites, blogs, and discussion forums. Violators will be subjected to a RMB 30,000 fine.


From the State Council Information Office: All websites are requested to immediately remove photos and news reports regarding Chengdu bus explosion incident from front pages. Interactive spaces must immediately work on preventing the spread of related information and commentary.


From the Central Department: To all print and TV media: The serial bombings in Fuzhou, Jiangxi must be referred as “5.26 Criminal Case.” No mentioning of “administration building” or “bombing incident” in titles will be allowed.


May 26

From the State Council Information Office: In regard to the serial bombings in Fushun, Jiangxi, all discussion and comment sections of all websites must be shut down. All interactive spaces must be managed well.


From a Provincial Internet Administration Office: Urgent: All discussions of the Jiangxi serial bombings are requested to be immediately and thoroughly deleted. No discussion should be allowed if posts cannot be managed. All photos of corpses need to be deleted.

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From the State Council Information Office: Urgent: Another worker committed suicide. No reporting of any form will be allowed on interactive spaces including all discussion forums, micro-blogs, and blogs.

[Foxconn is a major contract manufacturer of Apple’s iPods, iPhones, and iPads. There was a series of workers’ suicide incidents within the manufacturer in 2010.]


From the Central Propaganda Department: Urgent: In regard to the serial bombings in Fuzhou, Jiangxi, all print and TV media are requested to only use copy circulated from Xinhua News Agency. No independent interviews or reports are allowed. Do not post any related photos, video clips, or special reports. Any reports violating this regulation are subjected to immediate removal.

From the Central Propaganda Department: In regard to the arrest of Ai Weiwei for economic crimes, Xinhua News Agency has its official response to foreign press. All local media outlets are not to conduct independent reporting.

May 25
From the Central Propaganda Department: In regard to the soon-to-be-released official compensation plan of the deadly Shanghai high-rising building fire, all media are to use copy circulated from Xinhua News Agency. No independent reports will be allowed.
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May 23
From the State Council Information Office: In regard to information relating to low-income housing, all websites are requested to strictly enforce the regulations and control of online opinion. No recommendations or discussions of related topics will be allowed. Any questioning, attacking, or action-calling posts need to be immediately removed.
[There have been a series of low-income housing scandals exposed on the Internet. Many state-owned companies are accused of selling most of their housing projects (built as part of the public low-income housing project) to internal employees at a mere fraction of market value, whereas the housing projects are supposed to be open to low-income families only. ]

From the State Council Information Office: In regard to the “Mongol shepherd run over and killed for protecting grassland” incident, all websites are requested to strengthen control and immediately remove negative comments. No recommendations or discussions are allowed on any interactive spaces including discussion forums and blogs.