Workers Protest Against Fuyuan Hydropower Company, Guangdong

18:01 Jun 29 2007 Dongyuan County, Heyuan City, Guangdong, People's Republic of China

Workers Protest Against Fuyuan Hydropower Company, Guangdong
From The Age:

MIGRANT worker Lei Mingzhong, 27, is unconscious on a trolley at Heyuan People's Hospital, the sheets stained with his blood.

It is Tuesday night, four days after about 40 thugs in the employ of Fuyuan Hydropower company attacked Mr Lei and 200 other striking workers on a building site in the southern province of Guangdong.

His attackers, wielding shovels, axes and steel rods, bashed Mr Lei and other workers last week after they went on strike over more than four months of unpaid wages.

Their protest delayed completion of Fuyuan's hydropower station in Dongyuan county, about an hour from the city of Heyuan. Mr Lei is brain-dead, but being kept alive, fellow workers speculate, because the police are postponing a murder investigation.

"He was dead at the field," Xiang Xiquan, one of the seven workers injured in the clash says from his hospital bed earlier that night.

"The first shovel blow killed him but after he had fallen they kept beating him," Mr Xiang, who suffered a broken leg, bruising and cuts, said. "They are using artificial means to keep him breathing, but it is just a pretence."

The brutal attack is the latest in what labour rights groups say is an escalating pattern of corporate violence against China's 200 million migrant workers, mostly poor farmers and the unemployed who seek work in the booming urban centres.


The ground-floor emergency room where we find Mr Lei is filled with about 20 people including relatives, fellow workers and local media; police are also present, one conspicuously videotaping. At 10.30pm, several dozen police reinforcements arrive, clear the room and confiscate pictures taken by two photographers. Mr Lei is finally declared dead and his body moved.

When we return to the hospital the next day after visiting the hydro site on the Dongjiang River, a delegation of officials from Chongqing province, where most of the migrant workers are from, had descended on the injured, promising to investigate.

Four men, including Fuyuan's security chief and site manager, have been detained by police and Xinhua, the official Government news agency, reported that China's Minister for Construction, Wang Guangtao, has ordered an investigation.

At a news conference that same day, Wednesday, called by the Dongyuan County Government (which covers the hydro site), officials offered their condolences to the injured workers and promised to co-ordinate the investigation into the "incident", which they described as a "group fight" caused by a financial dispute. The local party secretary was photographed visiting the injured, telling them they would sort out the dispute.


Fuyuan Hydropower is part of the giant Fuyuan group owned by Miao Shouliang, who was last year listed as China's 68th richest person in the Hurun Report, an annual rich list. Mr Miao is also a delegate of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the key community advisory body to the Chinese leadership.

Mr Miao earlier this week denied delaying payment to Qiutian but refused to comment on the attack. A Fuyuan employee at its Shenzhen headquarters on Thursday said the company had paid 30 million yuan ($A4.6 million), including 10 million ahead of schedule, to Qiutian and the matter was a contractual dispute.

From BBC:

A group of armed men attacked as many as 300 migrant construction workers who were striking over unpaid wages, Chinese media reports.

At least one person is reported to be fighting for his life and six others were injured in the clashes in Heyuan city, in Guangdong province.

China's construction minister has ordered an immediate investigation, Xinhua news agency reports.

China has faced a number of recent cases involving alleged worker abuse.

More than 500 people were recently freed after they were found to have been working in appalling conditions at illegal brick factories in the north of the country.

Amnesty International warned in March that a lack of rights for China's tens of millions of migrant workers was creating an underclass in the country.

Nearly 300 workers went on strike last Friday after they had gone four months without wages while working on the construction site of a hydropower station at Heyuan, local media reported.

They were said to be demanding their salaries from the Fuyuan energy firm when as many as 300 armed men arrived at the site.

"The first batch of about 50 gangsters came with spades in their hands, and the second batch had axes, steel pipes and sabres, and there were more behind them," migrant worker Liu Gangqing was quoted by the Chongqing Morning Post as saying.

Local police were reported to have arrested four Fuyuan employees, while hospital officials said one person was close to the death following the incident.

Fuyuan Group chairman Miu Shouliang denied, in an interview with the newspaper, that wages had not been paid, but would not discuss the attack.

A city government spokesperson played down the numbers involved in the incident, saying it totalled around 30 workers and company staff.


Some 300-400 workers at the site, currently building a hydro-electric power station, went on strike last Friday in protest at the massive wage arrears. Some 200 hired thugs then attacked the workers. Lei Mingzhong, is reported to be in a coma and brain dead and acccording to doctors has no chance of recovery. Many other workers were injured in the clashes.

Huang Juping the spokesman for the regional government tried to downplay the incident, claiming that 100 migrant workers has struck over pay claims and that only some 30 had fought with company employees leading to injury. Four company employees have been arrested so far over the injuries to Mr. Mingzhong.

From Boxun, probably about the same incident:




Credibility: UP DOWN 0

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