Daqing Oilfied Workers Continue Protests Despite Arrests

While retrenched oilfield workers have staged their 13th week of protests against the Daqing Petroleum Administration Bureau , the police continued their arrests of the protest leaders.

Workers who have taken part in the protests told China Labour Bulletin that at least two protesters had been detained briefly by the police on 31 May, 2002. They were released later in the day. One arrested worker was freed by fellow workers as the police tried to take him away. He told CLB that many of the protest organizers had been secretly detained by the police. The protesters had stopped shouting slogans because anyone identified as leading the slogans had disappeared or been detained by the police. The exact number, names and location of these detainees are, however, unknown. About ten leaders of the provisional union set up by the protesting retrenched workers disappeared in mid-March, two weeks after the demonstrations began.

According to accounts of the protesters, thousands of workers stage demonstrations every morning from Monday to Friday at the Iron Man (Tieran) Square in front of the DPAB headquarters. On 27 May (Monday), the number of protesters swelled to over 10,000. At the height of the protests in March, over 50,000 oilfield workers took part in the demonstrations. Officials from Beijing have reportedly arrived in Daqing to investigate the situation, but never met with the protesters. Some protesters staged a road blockade by the Square on 3 June.

CLB was told by the protesters that they hoped the International Labour Organization would intervene and put pressure on the Chinese government to solve the conflict.

(Source: China Labour Bulletin)


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