Chinese Workers Are Discovering That Mass Protest Is Pretty Effective

china farmer protest

Photo: ap

There are a lot of reasons for public protests in China, and they’ll continue until certain big ticket items are fixed, like pollution and land dispossession. But in addition to the underlying dissatisfaction, I’m starting to wonder whether we’re seeing an uptick in mass incidents simply because they seem to be very effective.Think about it. Just recently, quite a few NIMBY protests have been successful, although some just temporarily. From Shifang to Qidong, it seems as though this is a good tactic.

And when it comes to labour relations, making a scene in public looks like a good idea these days as well:

Motorola added more terms to its compensation package following protests in Beijing and Nanjing against its recent decision to lay off over 1000 workers in China, a newspaper in Beijing reported.

The new plan added solutions for employees’ unused annual leave and reimbursement of housing subsidy, which would raise the compensation for each employee by 30,000-40,000 yuan. (Caijing)

If a little complaining achieves results like that, why not do it? Granted, protesting against a company that is now owned by Public Enemy Number One (i.e., Google) is not exactly fraught with danger, at least compared with going up against a powerful factory out in the sticks where the owner is in cahoots with local government.

So when you wonder why these folks are putting themselves out there, it’s not just because they’re pissed off at Problem X, Y or Z, but rather that they believe that protesting might actually achieve some results for themselves and their community.

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