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From meisenscher@igc.org Wed May 24 18:42:21 2000
Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 00:03:26 -0500 (CDT)
From: Michael Eisenscher <meisenscher@igc.org>
Subject: Chinese Miners Protest Shutdown
Article: 92858
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

More Chinese Workers Protests as Police Intervene

AFP, 4 April 2000 @2:52am

HONG KONG, April 3 (AFP) - Some 500 miners in southwestern China's Sichuan province protested after their mine went bankrupt and some 40,000 workers were laid off, a Hong Kong rights group said Monday.

The miners from the Liuzhi Mine gathered on Saturday on the tracks of the Guiyang-Kunming railway and blocked rail traffic for hours, the Information Centre of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China said.

Local authorities sent in several hundred police to clear the tracks, it said. The mine was officially declared bankrupt in January, it said.

At least 10 similar protests have erupted on the railway line in recent months, the center said, with the biggest occuring when some 10,000 stopped rail traffic for half a day in December.

Meanwhile, authorities are also calling in the People's Liberation Army to quell unrest, when police forces are inadequate, it said.

After the Yangjiazhan mine in Menghudao city, northeastern Liaoning Province announced bankruptcy in December, sporadic demonstrations have occurred regularly, resulting in a dispatch of 400 soldiers to the city.

In a demonstration of some 10,000 miners in February, the soldiers fired their guns into the air to warn off the protesters, it said.

The miners were protesting a 5,600 yuan (675 dollars) one time pay off, that was expected to cover living and medical expenses for each worker for three years, the center said.

When the mine declared bankruptcy some 20,000 workers lost their jobs, but the authorities standard subsidy was too low with workers that had worked more than 10 years getting only 5,600 yuan in unemployment fees, it said.