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CHINA: My story on Jilin city

From China, Paul Simon sends a long report on labor unrest in Jilin City caused by layoffs. Here is the key section:

"Trying to fight a hazy future. Layoffs: With many state-owned companies in China cutting labor forces, out-of-work employees wonder how they'll make ends meet -- and how to push for changes.- Chanting "Raise our pay!", thousands of workers took to the streets here last spring, blocked traffic for hours and made their complaints about their employer known to everyone. Jilin Chemical Industrial Co., a state-owned company, was about to cut them from the payroll. They wanted higher severance pay. Some workers believed that their demands would be met. But when the protests resumed for a second day, police armed with submachine guns surrounded the demonstrators and detained those leading the chants. When a group of workers blocked a train, police detained them, too. By the fourth day, the protest had been crushed".

Ronald Hilton - 4/20/02