Demos over unpaid wages

BBC News Online, Monday 26 March 2001, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK

A human rights group says workers have staged two large protests in China over unpaid wages.

The Hong Kong-based group the Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, said about one-and-half thousand construction workers in the southern province of Guizhou blocked roads, complaining that some retired staff hadn't been paid pensions for up to a year.

Local officials confirmed the protest but said only a few hundred people were involved.

The second protest involved about five hundred chemical factory workers who gathered outside Communist party offices in the central Hunan province, demanding wages.

Unemployment, poverty and corruption, as well as the stream-lining of state industries in preparation for China's entry to the World Trade Organisation, have prompted a growing number of protests around the country.