BEIJING (Reuters) - About 1,000 migrant workers went on the rampage in a city in eastern China on Tuesday, smashing up cars and protesting in front of a government building after a worker was apparently killed by his employer, state media said.
The protest began in the morning in Ruian, near Wenzhou in the wealthy province of Zhejiang, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
“Around 1,000 migrant workers rushed the government office building, turning over an iron fence gate, and damaging over a dozen cars with stones and bricks,” Xinhua’s English language report said.
“Local government sources said the protest was sparked by the death of 19-year-old migrant worker Yang Zhi, allegedly killed by his employer Xu Qiyin during a dispute over salary,” it said.
The protest ended just before midday after the family of the dead man was given 300,000 yuan ($47,300) in compensation, Xinhua said.
Police have detained Xu, and ordered him to pay the compensation, the report said.
It provided no further details, and Reuters was unable to reach the government for comment.
China’s ruling Communist Party worries that the tens of thousands of sporadic protests over land grabs, corruption and economic grievances that break out across the country every year could coalesce into discontent that would threaten its control.
In December, a village protest in southern China over land grabs and the death of a village organizer drew national attention after officials conceded to protesters’ demands.
No official counts of the number of protests, riots and mass petitions have been released in recent years. But most estimates in government-sponsored studies put such “mass incidents” at around 90,000 a year in recent years.
In 2007, China saw more than 80,000 “mass incidents”, up from more than 60,000 in 2006, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
($1 = 6.3450 Chinese yuan)
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Louise Ireland