China: 27 villagers detained after land-grab protests in Shantou

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At least 1,000 villagers from Liantang village in Guangdong protested outside the city government’s office building on Friday

He Huifeng, South China Morning PostMonday, 29 September, 2014

At least 27 villagers in Shantou, Guangdong were detained by police on Saturday for allegedly inciting a two-day protest over the sale of their land and corruption.

Thousands of villagers from Liantang village clashed with hundreds of police and government officials on Friday and Saturday in front of the Shantou municipal government building.

They said village officials had sold their collective land and never shared the profits with villagers. The demonstrations ended on Saturday night and local public security officers took away 27 people on suspicion of spreading rumours or disturbing public order and causing trouble.
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China: 30 Years of Capitalism-Restored Brings Toxic Harvest of Displacement for Millions

Cancer victim faces China land battle

The demolished site where Yao Baohua's house still stands, in the city of Changzhou, on March 13, 2013 (AFP, Peter Parks)

The demolished site where Yao Baohua’s house still stands, in the city of Changzhou, on March 13, 2013 (AFP, Peter Parks)

The Yao home is the last one standing in the rubble of a vast development site in Changzhou, a Chinese “nail house”, the moniker earned for both their physical appearance and their owners’ stubborn resistance.

The former mathematics teacher is one of the few to make a stand against the devastating side effects of China’s breakneck urbanisation, which can see entire villages uprooted to make way for industry and housing developments — often with the help of corrupt officials and police.

“Everyone else has gone, fight by fight, tear by tear,” said the 75-year-old, breathing heavily in a bed at Changzhou People’s Number Two hospital, recovering from an operation on a stomach tumour.

“But I will never give up. It is an illegal development,” he added, raising his fists defiantly as aggressive security staff forced out his visitors.

Yao’s plight is typical of disputes over land expropriation that China’s then premier Wen Jiabao said last year “are still very serious and the people are still very concerned about them”.

China has passed a series of regulations in recent years to protect land rights, including outlawing the use of violence during evictions and stipulating market rate compensation must be paid to relocated residents.

But local officials often ignore the rules, say researchers and campaigners. Continue reading

Mao and the new Chinese leadership

In 1976, China was the most equal society in the world while today, it is led by billionaires

by Hukum B Singh, eKantipur.com (Nepal), April 11, 2013

After the successful power transition in China,  Xi Jinping is now formally in charge of the Communist Party of China, the Government of China and its formidable military wing. However, there are big challenges ahead for Xi.

Mao, the founding father of modern China and the Chinese communist party, is still popular in China but the present leadership is fast moving away from his thought. The life and work of Mao is an inspiration to the poor, oppressed people in many parts of the world, including present China. That is why capitalists in China and their followers hate the memory of Mao and do everything they can to denigrate the great revolutionary leader. In Nepal and India, millions of workers and peasants are in favour of Maoism. Mao’s conception of a people’s war is being applied by the Communist Party of India (Maoist), which is leading an armed insurrection in many parts of India.

As it becomes clearer that capitalism—the oppressive system under which we live—is in decline, capitalists and those who serve them are becoming more desperate to convince us that no alternative, especially socialism, is possible. Hence, capitalist roaders in China and rest of the world have been attacking Mao’s revolution of China.

A century ago, when Mao was young, the once great civilisation of China had been reduced by internal reactionaries and external imperialists to a state of disorder and destitution. Mao was a young Chinese determined to find a way to save China and turn it into a prosperous, modern society. It was the Communist Party of China, eventually led by Mao, which found the way forward leading to the defeat of internal and external enemies and the foundation of the People’s Republic in 1949. In China today, Mao is widely respected and revered for the leading role he played in this great revolutionary struggle. Continue reading

The Conditions of Migrant Workers in Shenzhen: A Discussion with a Rural Migrant Workers’ Rights Activist

by Shui Mui, China Left Review (Issue # 4) — (researcher, mainly focusing on migrant workers and labor-capital relations)

In March, 2009, I interviewed a Shenzhen based migrant workers’ rights activist. The interview helps us better comprehend the current conditions of migrant workers in China.

1. Workplace Injuries

A Hong Kong NGO put out a report (Arms and Legs), which discussed workplace injuries in China. At present in Shenzhen, many factories adopted new machinery equipped with infrared technologies, which could help prevent workers’ injuries. But that didn’t mean that older machinery left the Chinese scene altogether, it just moved inland. Still, Shenzhen’s rate of workplace injuries did not decrease, they only became more intense. Many 18-25 year old workers who just started working were injured in the first few days of work. This was because at many factories there was no training for newly hired workers.

Small factories owned by local investors are well below standard. When workplace injury related incidents occur, bosses frequently jump ship. Many workers’ injuries are not covered by regulations on the books that ensure workplace injury insurance. Electronics and shoe factories use a great amount of chemicals during production, without needed measures to prevent workplace poisoning. Smaller scale factories are especially weak in this area. Most of the workers in electronics factories are women, accounting for 70-80 percent of the workforce. Their work has a great impact on their reproductive systems, and the frequency of their falling ill is quite high. This is not only a problem for individual women workers, it also affects the next generation of offspring. One of the staff at University of Science and Engineering opened a battery factory where the majority of women workers fell ill to cadmium poisoning. One of these workers gave birth to an infant with a large black stripe on its body, which no one could explain. There have emerged many new chemicals used in factories are not covered by Chinese law. It’s estimate that in the next few years, rates of factory dust related lung disease will surge. This amounts to the end of the incubation period for diseases acquired since the process of economic liberalization began. Grinder’s disease, especially prevalent among miners, has already ended countless workers’ lives. Others with the disease are simply waiting to die.

Since the labor shortage that started in 2004, it should be noted that women workers are also finding it easier to secure jobs. Because women are regarded as more physically nimble, more obedient thanks to traditional culture in the countryside, much like previous generations of women workers in Korea, factory owners are predisposed to hiring them. Furthermore, if women workers look to fight for their rights, they typically have a much harder time than male counterparts. Continue reading

“Shocking” disclosure of extreme wealth at pinnacle of capitalist China’s power elite

[While the socialist fig-leaf of China no longer has the power to confuse all who have watched, from near and from afar, the discarding of socialist  — peasant and workers’ — power for over three decades, the Western bourgeoisie have continued to slam the emergent exploitative and oppressive Chinese capitalist system as characteristic of “socialism” — in hopes that once overthrown, socialism will not rise again.  But all this exposure in the New York Times does, is describe a common feature of capitalist systems worldwide.  Such “investigative journalism” is a good example of “the pot calling the kettle black.” “If you live in a glass house, you should not throw stones at other glass houses.”  The bourgeois Chinese state, in response, has blocked access in China to the New York Times online, in hope, no doubt, that the tattered and shredded socialist fig-leaf  may yet be a useful cover.  But, to use another analogy, “the Emperor has no clothes” that serve to disguise the reality. — Frontlines ed.]

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October 25, 2012

Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader

By

BEIJING — The mother of China’s prime minister was a schoolteacher in northern China. His father was ordered to tend pigs in one of Mao’s political campaigns. And during childhood, “my family was extremely poor,” the prime minister, Wen Jiabao, said in a speech last year.

But now 90, the prime minister’s mother, Yang Zhiyun, not only left poverty behind, she became outright rich, at least on paper, according to corporate and regulatory records. Just one investment in her name, in a large Chinese financial services company, had a value of $120 million five years ago, the records show.

The details of how Ms. Yang, a widow, accumulated such wealth are not known, or even if she was aware of the holdings in her name. But it happened after her son was elevated to China’s ruling elite, first in 1998 as vice prime minister and then five years later as prime minister.

Many relatives of Wen Jiabao, including his son, daughter, younger brother and brother-in-law, have become extraordinarily wealthy during his leadership, an investigation by The New York Times shows. A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that the prime minister’s relatives — some of whom, including his wife, have a knack for aggressive deal making — have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion.

Deng Xiaoping, who led the new and resurgent capitalists to seize power from the working people of China after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. He popularized the slogan promoting individual greed against social and collective advance: “To get rich is glorious!”

In many cases, the names of the relatives have been hidden behind layers of partnerships and investment vehicles involving friends, work colleagues and business partners. Untangling their financial holdings provides an unusually detailed look at how politically connected people have profited from being at the intersection of government and business as state influence and private wealth converge in China’s fast-growing economy.

Unlike most new businesses in China, the family’s ventures sometimes received financial backing from state-owned companies, including China Mobile, one of the country’s biggest phone operators, the documents show. At other times, the ventures won support from some of Asia’s richest tycoons. The Times found that Mr. Wen’s relatives accumulated shares in banks, jewelers, tourist resorts, telecommunications companies and infrastructure projects, sometimes by using offshore entities.

The holdings include a villa development project in Beijing; a tire factory in northern China; a company that helped build some of Beijing’s Olympic stadiums, including the well-known “Bird’s Nest”; and Ping An Insurance, one of the world’s biggest financial services companies.

As prime minister in an economy that remains heavily state-driven, Mr. Wen, who is best known for his simple ways and common touch, more importantly has broad authority over the major industries where his relatives have made their fortunes. Chinese companies cannot list their shares on a stock exchange without approval from agencies overseen by Mr. Wen, for example. He also has the power to influence investments in strategic sectors like energy and telecommunications. Continue reading

China’s migrants and the desperate struggle for survival

[“Civil society” activists examine the barriers to their “underground” influence and the effect of their activism among migrant workers in the post-socialist, capitalist China.  —  Frontlines ed.]

China: The view from the ground

The self-organising efforts of migrant workers and rights activists across China offer a vital insight into the nature and future of modern Chinese society, says Hsiao-Hung Pai.

The experience of migrant workers in China, who number well over 200 million in this society of 1.2 billion, is a vital route to understanding the nature of present-day Chinese society. Migrants are the most marginalised and unorganised group of workers in China. Many feel that they are like scattered sand (san sha), a phrase that evokes their lack of collective strength and power to change things. In face of unpaid wages and all levels of abuses by companies, they often find themselves fighting their battles alone – and even when they take their bosses to court, this rarely ends in victory.

An example of such protest is an incident in Yunnan province, in China’s southwest, where the tourism company Xinhua Shizhaizi owed 8 million yuan to 500 migrant workers for a construction project. They were helpless but were determined to fight to the end, even though no institutions and no media would come to their aid. Eventually, thirteen children of these migrants joined their parents and held up signs in front of the public – “I want to eat, to go to school, to drink milk, to eat cookies” – as part of their demand that the developer pay the wages owed to their parents.

It was a sign of how desperate and isolated the workers were that their children had to protest on their behalf on the streets. But, as so often, the developers could count on their political connections to avoid responsibility, migrant andworkers were left with nowhere to turn to. Continue reading

Out of the public eye, China cracks down on another protesting village

Tom Lasseter – McClatchy Newspapers, February 26, 2012

PANHE, China — The old woman walked over to the door and peeked out from behind a blue curtain, looking slowly from one side of the street to other. She muttered to those huddled in the room behind her, “the police will come.”

The men, who’d been talking about officials stealing their land in Panhe, fell quiet. They knew what a visit would mean — threats, beatings and then getting dragged off by the police.

In December, a high-profile standoff between residents and Communist Party bosses in a fishing village named Wukan, about 450 miles southwest of Panhe, ended peacefully. That case had some observers wondering if Chinese officials had changed the way they dealt with the intertwined problems of land rights and corruption.

What happened here suggests otherwise. Continue reading