China: Economy Protests Worry Beijing

A string of strikes and violent protests is unnerving China’s Communist Party leadership as it struggles to contain the fallout from the global economic slowdown that appears likely to sharply increase unemployment.

By Chris O’Brien
The Washington Times

In the latest instance of unrest, hundreds of protesters stormed the gates of a toy factory in southern China that supplies U.S. toy maker Hasbro Inc. on Tuesday and Wednesday, smashing police vehicles, wrestling with security guards and breaking into management offices to destroy computer equipment.

The incident occurred as the World Bank announced that it was cutting its forecast for China´s 2009 growth rate to 7.5 percent from 9.2 percent — further evidence that a slump in demand for Chinese exports is hitting the country hard.

Only a week ago, a crowd of about 2,000 demonstrators used axes, chains and iron bars to attack police in Longnan, a city in the northwestern province of Gansu, after a protest over an unpopular urban redevelopment program spiraled out of control.

But the act of rebellion that is likely to cause the greatest anxiety among the party´s top ranks is a series of strikes by taxi drivers that have rippled across the country since the beginning of November.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/no
v/28/economy-protests-worry-beijing/

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