Chinese migrant workers riot in Guangdong
Migrant factory workers from Sichuan clash with police as social tensions boil over in prosperous southern province
Hundreds of Chinese migrant workers rioted and clashed with police this week in a fresh outbreak of social unrest in the economic powerhouse of Guangdong.
The southern province, one of China’s major coastal manufacturing zones, is home to a large population of migrant factory workers drawn from across China.
But in recent years, perceived discrimination and abuse by authorities have triggered strikes, clashes and riots.
The latest clashes took place in Shaxi township, near the city of Zhongshan, involving about 300 migrants who hurled rocks after a fight between a 15-year-old migrant and a student, according to a government spokeswoman from Shaxi.
Security personnel intervened and beat the young migrant, infuriating a group of relatives and others migrants who rioted, the Global Times newspaper reported.
About 30 people were injured and the rioters – mostly from Sichuan province in the south-west – smashed and overturned at least two public security vehicles, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.
“Right now, there are a few migrants around but mostly as spectators,” the Shaxi spokeswoman told Reuters.
“The protest has essentially been dispersed. There are a few police vehicles left, and some spectators are still around observing.”
Last June, thousands of migrant workers, also largely hailing from Sichuan, rioted and clashed with police in the Guangdong city of Zengcheng, torching cars and ransacking government buildings, in a protest over the rough treatment of a pregnant street hawker.
Pictured:Migrant workers in Beijing return home for Chinese New Year. Incidents of social unrest and hostility are growing between migrant workers and many local authorities. Photograph: Dan Chung/Guardian