Daily Video

July 1, 2011

Youth, Labor Workers Demand Change in China

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A younger generation in the Republic of China is becoming increasingly frustrated and calling for change. Laborers typically work in factories for up to 16 hours per day, but the rising cost of living in China means they barely make ends meet. These laborers, who are well-known for being hardworking, poorly paid and obedient, are taking to the streets in protests. And according to reports, these protests are on the rise.

Protestors say a pregnant woman, who ran a stall, was beaten by local police officers two weeks ago. News of the incident spread like wildfire and rioters destroyed the police headquarters located in the city of Xintang.

Human rights groups report that protesters are taking to the streets to riot and attack symbols of the government. The government, in turn, is departing from the rule of law and using things such as kidnapping, intimidation, retribution against families.

Many believe this severe crackdown comes from fear of uprising inspired by riots in Tunisia and Egypt, which were mobilized by the internet and social media websites.

“In the aftermath of the Arab spring, the Chinese government came to the conclusion that there is only one way to silence outspoken critics on the Internet. It’s to physically take them off the grids. You have to kidnap them. You have to hold them incommunicado,” said Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch.

Quotes

“There is no future for young workers. They can’t live a decent life in the city, and they can’t afford to send money home either. It’s modern-day slavery.” – Li Yuan Feng, labor activist

“We’re not free. We’re stuck on the factory floor for hours. And we get so little money.” Huang Je

Warm Up Questions

1. What is a protest?

2. Why do people protest?

3. In what region of the world is China located?

4. Why are the youth and labor workers in China protesting?

Discussion Questions

1. What kind of government does the Republic of China have?

2. Why is protesting in China rare?

3. What does the term “Arab Spring” mean?

4. Do you think that the Chinese government is afraid that the protests in other countries will spark a revolution in China?

Additional Resources

Video Transcript

China Cracks Down on Violent Protests in Tibet

Olympics Host China Comes Under Fire for Human Rights Concerns

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