and Agricultural Workers' Protest Against Transport Price Rises Met
with Police Repression in China
buses were destroyed in response to police attacks on demonstrators. (source:
to international media reports, over four days from 9 March through to
12 March 20,000 agricultural workers and farmers protested in the town
of Yongzhou, Hunan province, China over increased transport prices. The
protests, initially peaceful, were sparked when local bus services, which
were recently privatised, raised fares by 100% to 200% in the period during
Chinese New Year and then refused to return prices to their original level.
However, police and
government authorities refused to tolerate the peaceful demonstrations
and attacked protestors with batons and electric cattle prods. In what
followed protestors became outraged and attacked and burnt buses belonging
to the transport company. Government authorities quickly mobilised more
than 2,000 police and security forces to suppress the protests.
Differing reports suggest that one person was killed and more than
60 people injured in the police attacks. Since the incident locals
have been warned against speaking to foreign media about the protest
or providing photographic evidence.
What had infuriated local protestors was the belief that the privatisation
of the bus services had been done in collusion with local party officials,
who were believed to have been recieving pay-offs through the increased
The Chinese government euphemistically has called events like this 'mass
incidents' and has said about 23,000 such 'incidents' occurred in 2006.
There is no way to verify this figure, and it is likely to be an underestimate,
but even if approaching the truth, this means more than 60 protests per
day are occurring.
The continuing refusal of the Chinese government to recognise the
democratic rights of its citizens can only further induce protest
and will only lead to an intensification of corruption and inequality.
Hotel Worker's Murder at Work Leads to Thousands-Strong
Protest Signaling Deep Discontent with Widespread Corruption and Impunity