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12 Chinese workers threaten group suicide

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HONG KONG – Twelve workers in Jiangxi Province, China, tried to commit group suicide by jumping from the Nanchang building on the afternoon of Dec. 3. The twelve workers were from the Nanchang City Ninth Printing Plant, a subsidiary of Jiangxi Paper Industries, whose stock is currently being traded. They were protesting embezzlement by top-level managers in the company, which had led to bankruptcy, the termination of workers’ jobs and substandard compensation.
Authorities sent out dozens of police officers and fire fighters to forcibly remove the 12 workers. The authorities then detained the workers and put them through a “re-education class,” during which they were prohibited from seeing their families.

According to a report obtained from the Hong Kong Information Center by Radio Free Asia on Dec. 8, Jiangxi Paper Industries was facing bankruptcy and the price of its stock was dropping dramatically because the managers embezzled company funds. The company was planning to reorganize the company and fire 5,100 workers, including those who work at the Ninth Printing Plant. The fored workers were offered the insignificant sum of 800 yuan (approximately $100) a year as unemployment compensation.

The twelve workers who attempted to commit suicide were not satisfied with the company’s the inadequate compensation package. Outraged by the situation, the workers attempted to commit suicide, hoping to draw the attention of authorities.

The 12 workers remain in the “re-education class” and are cut off from any outside contact.

The Hong Kong Information Center said this situation showed that the stock exchange in Shanghai is unable to monitor companies being traded. After China entered the WTO, many businesses have been affected by insufficient stock market supervision.

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