Thu, Feb 19, 2009 - Page 5 News List

‘Hostile’ forces in China are stirring up jobless: official

REUTERS , BEIJING

China must guard against “hostile forces” within and outside the country working to stir up trouble among its masses of newly unemployed workers, a senior trade union official said in comments published yesterday.

The Chinese Communist Party leadership has issued repeated warnings that legions of idle rural workers gathered in the country’s struggling export hubs could pose a threat to civic stability.

Clashes between police and unpaid workers locked out of failed factories have flared up across China in recent months, but the government bans independent trade unions, depriving workers of a key channel for resolving disputes.

Sun Chunlan (孫春蘭), vice-chairman of the state-backed All-China Federation of Trade Unions, said that police taskforces had been “rushed” to all regions to “understand the situation with regional social stability,” the Beijing News paraphrased him as saying during a teleconference with officials.

Authorities needed to rigorously guard against “hostile forces within and outside China using the difficulties of some enterprises to infiltrate and bring trouble to rural migrant workers,” Sun said. He did not elaborate.

About 20 million jobs have been lost in Guangdong Province alone, southern China’s manufacturing hub, an official from China’s top planning agency said on Tuesday.

A senior Guangdong police official on Tuesday warned of a “grim” public security outlook in the province bordering Hong Kong, warning that ranks of jobless workers could be “tempted by crime and become a factor of instability.”

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