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China police, 30,000 workers clash: rights group
Agence France-Presse
Page 3
2009-07-27 12:00 AM
About 30,000 Chinese steel workers clashed with police over plans to merge their mill with another company, and beat a manager to death, a Hong Kong-based human rights group has said.

About 100 people were injured in the incident on Friday in the northeastern city of Tonghua, the Information center for Human Rights and Democracy said in a statement.

A police officer at the Tonghua Public Security Bureau's control center yesterday confirmed that a clash took place, but refused to provide any details or comment on the reported death.

Company and local government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Tonghua Iron and Steel Group employees opposed plans for Beijing-based Jianlong Steel to take a 65 percent stake in the mill, the center said, adding they accused Jianlong of mismanagement during temporary stewardship last year.

The Tonghua employees attacked Jianlong general manager Chen Guojun when he ordered them to return to work, the center said, adding Chen's friends had confirmed he had died after workers blocked an ambulance from responding.

The workers had complained about Chen's alleged three-million-yuan (US$438,000) salary, as the mill's pensioners received as little as 200 yuan (US$29) a month, the statement said.

Beijing is trying to consolidate its steel industry, which comprises hundreds of small producers, through mergers aimed at creating big players that have the potential to be globally competitive.

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