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The number of strikes and worker protests in China escalated dramatically towards the end of 2015 as the economy continued to stutter, with manufacturing, construction and mining all seeing a massive upsurge in disputes.
The chief suspect in the arson attack on a bus in the north-western city of Yinchuan on 5 January is reportedly a 34-year-old labour contractor named Ma Yongping who was owed 336,000 yuan for plumbing work completed by his labourers more two years ago.
A group of labour activists held in detention for more than a month have been subjected to a vicious smear campaign in China’s state-run media. Many workers have now spoken out in their defence and they present a completely different picture from that in the official media.
Lawsuits filed by sanitation workers in the central province of Hunan have reportedly forced the provincial government to issue a directive calling on administrative and trade union officials to step up their efforts to improve pay, working conditions and job security for street cleaners.
There have been at least 19 protests in the last three months alone over unpaid wages at construction projects run by China’s largest property developer, Wanda Commercial Properties, according to social media reports.
At a time of slowing economic growth, Beijing has sought to assure foreign companies that China is a welcoming place to do business.
As factories run out of money and construction projects idle, China sees a rise in unrest
Zhu Xiaomei has used her own struggle and experience in standing up to her employer to help drive China’s workers’ movement forward and emerge as one of most dynamic labour activists in the Pearl River Delta today.
Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn has sacked 16 workers in one of its factories in southern China after the workers protested over social benefits, according to NGO China Labor Bulletin.
Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, has dismissed 16 workers at its massive Longhua facility in Shenzhen for staging a protest over the alleged non-payment of social insurance contributions.

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