China police detain person for spreading rumors of labor unrest

BEIJING (Reuters) - Police in China’s central city of Wuhan said they have detained a person for spreading rumors in what a state-run newspaper said was a video purportedly showing a demonstration involving workers at Wuhan Iron and Steel (Wugang).

Police in Wuhan’s Qingshan District said that a person, surnamed Rong, was placed under administrative detention on Friday for five days, for allegedly spreading rumors about Wuhan Iron & Steel.

Qingshan district police on Sunday posted the information on Weibo, the micro-blogging service. Telephone calls to the district police were referred to the branch political office, which was unavailable for comment.

The online website of the official China Youth Daily also reported on Sunday that a person who had posted a video allegedly showing laid-off Wugang workers in a mass protest had been detained.

A propaganda official from Wuhan Steel Group characterized the video, which was filmed at night and showed a surging crowd, as rumor, the report said.

In September, Baoshan Iron & Steel announced it will acquire indebted Wuhan Steel Group, as part of a broader effort to tackle inefficiencies and huge overcapacity in China’s steel sector.

There are tens of thousands of “mass incidents”, or protests in Chinese government parlance, every year, over everything from pollution to illegal land seizures, which are often swiftly put down by China’s stability obsessed ruling communist party.

Reporting By Matthew Miller; Editing by Jon Boyle