In a rare demonstration of public protest, workers in the Dongguan province of China have clashed with police after taking to the streets over unpaid wages and factory closures. “We haven’t eaten in days,” said one protester, reflecting the increasing desperation of those who either have not been paid or whose jobs have gone.
An estimated 6.7 million Chinese are believed to have been made unemployed since the global financial crisis hit what used to be known as the “World’s workshop”. A police officer at the demonstration said he understood the protesters’ worries but the law had to be obeyed. Demonstrations are illegal in China. But with unemployment due to hit a new high in the new year, analysts say social stability is now seriously threatened.