Thursday, May 10, 2012

Eat hardy at the golden trough for a day of reckoning is coming

After China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, it began to overhaul state industries to open them to foreign competition in accord with WTO guidelines & political perspectives. One of the biggest companies hit was the Daqing Petroleum company which began laying off thousands of workers. The company is based in Daqing, 600 miles northeast of Beijing & is the largest oil-producing area in China & the 4th most productive oil field in the world. Tens of thousands of irate workers protested daily against the discharges in what were considered the largest labor protests since the Communists took over in 1949. The puny severance agreement for laid off workers stranded most in poverty with no medical insurance or pensions for old age--& with similar shake-downs in other industries, no employment possibilities. Riot police were deployed against the protests which media was not allowed to cover but which often drew up to 50,000 people. At the time, one laid off worker complained, “They cut you off & you can die & they won't care.'' Fast forward to May 2012, where this protestor is removed by cops from outside the hospital where Chen Guangcheng, the blind political dissident, was staying & where media had gathered. She was holding a banner reading, "Daqing oil management corruption. Forced redundancy, no money to eat. I want to eat, I want to live." In 2002, laid off workers complained corrupt company managers were  feeding at a golden trough. That trough is now diamond studded. Eat hardy boys; if this woman’s outrage is any gauge, a day of reckoning is coming. (Photo by Ed Jones/AFP)

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