Eva Cheng

During the last week of August, more than 3000 workers at the state-controlled Chengdu Power company went on strike at their diesel engines producing plant in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, and protested at the city government offices. The action was a bid to pressure the factory management to honour the original agreement under which working conditions would be changed while the company is restructured for privatisation.
On August 22, more than 5000 workers at a mobile phone component factory in Shenzhen, southern China, struck against their bosses’ attempt to increase their work hours without extra pay.
Following the first collapses among its lenders last year, the US subprime mortgage market began a sharper collapse in recent weeks, sustaining losses that an investment offshoot of Banque Agricole estimated in mid-August to be US$150 billion.
In a move reminiscent to the 1947-89 Cold War, on June 15 Washington imposed a series of restrictions on the export to China of high-tech goods, including aircraft engines, high-performance computers and other technologies that might have military applications.
On June 3, an elderly flower seller in the municipality of Chongqing was critically injured when council rangers violently cleared the area of street hawkers. In response, a thousand-strong riot erupted. Three days later, a similar incident occurred in the Henan provincial capital of Zhengzhou, when a riot of thousands of people forced a backdown from the authorities.
The enormity of China’s environmental nightmare is well-known. However, its root causes — especially the part played by First World capital — is less widely understood. One example is the massive dumping in China of First World “e-waste” — electronic and electrical waste.
Some 55,000 people demonstrated in Hong Kong on June 4 — the 18th anniversary of the Chinese army’s bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy student protesters at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Concerned about the health effects of a chemical plant proposed to be built in the coastal city of Xiamen by a Taiwanese capitalist, up to 2000 protesters took to the city’s streets on June 1 and 2 seeking to have the project scrapped.
On June 4, China’s National Development and Reform Commission issued a 62-page climate change “action plan” that seeks to reduce the country’s carbon dioxide emissions. The plan seeks to realise by 2010 three goals under the UN climate change convention — to reduce the country’s energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20%, to increase its renewable energy’s share in the country’s primary energy mix to 10% (up from its existing share of 7%, and to increase forest coverage to 20% (up from its existing 18%).
The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation’s eight-year effort to seek justice for one of its party activists who was kidnapped in 1999 in the north-east Bihar state concluded on May 8 when the alleged culprit — MP Mohammad Shahabuddin — was sentenced to life imprisonment. Chhote Lal Gupta, the victim, is officially presumed dead.


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