Steel workers clash with riot police


CHINA HAS seen several serious disturbances this weekend as people take to the streets to express their anger at perceived corruption and unfair takeovers.

The riots are part of a picture of wider social unrest in China fuelled by discontent over inequality and unemployment.

Around 30,000 disgruntled steel workers clashed with riot police in protests over a takeover deal, resulting in the death of an executive from another steel company. And more than 3,000 villagers in eastern China blocked a highway and clashed with police while protesting alleged corruption in a land compensation deal.

On Friday, news that Beijing-based Jianlong Steel Holding Company would buy a majority stake in state-owned Tonghua Iron and Steel Group triggered a protest in the northeastern city of Jilin, which led to 100 people being injured, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.

Chen Guojun, the general manager of Jianlong, was beaten to death by workers who were angry that Mr Chen was paid about three million yuan (€309,000) last year, while Tonghua’s retired workers received as little as 200 yuan (€20.60) a month, the centre said.

The centre said that over 3,000 villagers in eastern China blocked a highway and clashed with police on Saturday while protesting alleged official corruption in a land compensation deal.

Villagers believe that local officials arranged a deal in which villagers were paid far less than market value for their land.

Ten residents of Shipu town, in Zhejiang province, were injured in the clash with more than 300 riot police.

A resident said thousands of people had been staging a sit-in on the land for nearly a week.

Protests are common in China over land seizures. Local government officials often confiscate land for infrastructure and housing projects, with little or no compensation.