Thousands Protest Over Financial Losses From “Ant Farming” Scam
More on the “ant farmers” in Shenyang, who were hundreds of thousands of mostly poor workers and farmers, many of whom lost their life savings in a financial scam. News about the incident and subsequent protests has been strictly censored from online and other media in China. From chinaworker.info on 30 Nov 2007:
Thousands of people in Shenyang, capital of north-eastern China’s Liaoning province, took to the streets over several days last week, surrounding government offices to demand government help in recovering money from a pyramid-style financial scheme to raise ants for the manufacture of an aphrodisiac drug. Reportedly at least 1,000 anti-riot troops and police have been deployed in Shenyang, to quell the protests and shield the headquarters of the provincial government and CCP (China’s supposedly ‘communist’ ruling party). [Full Text]
Here is a video clip from right before the police used force to clean up the gathering space on November 21, 2007. A spokeperson for the provincial government says (translated by CDT):
“…Please look at this issue from the viewpoint of the market economy; be cooperative with the government and corporations to pass this difficult time, instead of putting pressure on the government… Maintain social order, don’t be used by enemies… There is a very small portion of people who are hostile to the government, and others who are in favor of chaos. Therefore, everyone must stay calm and clear-minded. At a moment like this, only listening to the Party and government is reliable. Only by listening to the Party and government, can one reduce their losses. One must cooperative with the government, preventing social instability and unpleasant events.”According to a report from Radio Free Asia, the Liaoning police did announce that more than twenty people are under administrative or criminal detention, charged with “inciting the masses.”
For more on this story, “And Millions fear losing life savings in Chinese ‘aphrodisiac ant farm'” by Kim Hunter Gordon:
It was an offer too good to refuse. A guaranteed 30 per cent annual return – Chinese government approved and promoted by the nation’s best-known comic – on a novel scheme to raise giant ants for use in the production of an aphrodisiac.
Laid-off workers and pensioners in the poor Liaoning province believed what they were told and put their money into the scheme promoted by the Yilishen company.
But with payments frozen for the past two months, China has now ordered a complete media blackout on coverage of a burgeoning scandal, raising suspicions of negligence and corruption at some of the highest levels of government. [Full Text]
Read also: Chinese protest at squashed ant investments by Richard Spencer in Telegraph. Several reports by Chinese journalists on this event (already censored in Chinese cyberspace) are here (in Chinese.)