Bowing to Protests, China Halts Sale of Steel Mill

Following protests in which workers took a government official hostage, managers of a steel plant in Henan have canceled plans to privatize. From the New York Times:

The protests, in Henan Province in central China, were the latest sign of increasing labor activism in China’s steel industry, the world’s largest and a cornerstone of China’s construction-dependent economy. Three weeks earlier, rioting workers beat to death an executive who had been overseeing the sale of another state-owned steel company, Tonghua Iron and Steel, in northeast China’s Jilin Province, to a private business.
The privatization of Tonghua was immediately postponed after that death.
The newspaper China Daily reported on Saturday that the police had tried to break through the ranks of workers on Friday in the latest incident, at the Linzhou Iron and Steel Company in the city of Anyang.
China Daily did not say whether the police had been successful. Government agencies at all levels have been reluctant to use overwhelming force against protesting workers.
See also Xinhua’s report.

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