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From owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu Fri Jun 28 15:22:03 2002
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 23:56:04 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: (en) MEDIA: Workers Shut Down Chinese Factory
From: Michael Pugliese <debsian@pacbell.net>
Article: 141033
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Workers Shut Down Chinese Factory

AP, 25 June 2002

BEIJING (AP) - Hundreds of workers laid-off from a state-run military equipment plant in southwestern China shut down production there in a protest over compensation, a rights monitoring group said Monday.

Workers blocked the plant's gate around the clock for the past two weeks, preventing other workers from entering, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.

The factory, located in a special military district in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, makes military optics such as gunsights, the Hong Kong-based center said.

It said management last year laid off staff under a controversial system known as pay-and-cut. Workers took a lump sum payment based on years of service but subsequently demanded additional payments, saying salaries had been too low all along.

Similar arrangements have prompted protests this year at other state industries around China, some involving tens of thousands of workers. There have been no reports of management giving in to demands.

The center said the factory was owned by the China South Industries Group Corp., one of China's largest arms producers, and is administered directly by the State Council, China's cabinet.

Communist China's founder Mao Zedong moved thousands of industries and military logistics bases to Sichuan in the belief they would better survive an attack by U.S. or Soviet invaders. The invasions never came and the industries have suffered from widespread inefficiencies and a lack of markets.

Telephone calls to the factory and local government offices rang unanswered. A policeman who answered the phone at a local precinct station said he had no information on any protests.