CHINA TOPIX

Updated 4:59 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 11, 2019

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Mass Unemployment, Strikes Becoming a Problem in China

Chinese Workers

(Photo : Photo by China Photos/Getty Images) Workers answer questions from an official with the local labour and social security department at an electronic factory in Shenzhen of Guangdong Province, China.

China is grappling to deal with the growing mass unemployment and strikes amid the county's economic slowdown.

According to the Australian Broadcast Corporation, most of the recent strikes in China have mostly occured in remote provinces such as Tibet and Xinjian. This year, strikes in China increased by 20 percent compared to last year. Approximately, there are eight protests daily in the country.

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Many factories have been closing due to the decrease of production, leading to mass unemployment. One employee said that "They say the happiness level of Chinese people is rising. Bullshit! You must come to a place like this to see the real China."

Most of these strikes have reportedly turned violent. A majority of the workers involved in the strikes are said to be from coal and steel companies. The government has been attempting to deal with overcapacity in China's industrial sector. China plans to cut around six million jobs in the coal and steel industry. Although authorities have slowed down the pace of cutting jobs, the plan will still push through.

The strikes in China have not been limited to remote provinces as there has also been mass unemployment in the south-eastern part of the country due to plants closing. Some of these plants are reportedly relocating their business to a different country in Asia to take advantage of cheaper labor.

A prominent labor activist, Zhang Ziru, said in a statement that if China's system does not improve and the government fails to make political reforms, there will be an explosion in the society.

Zhang said that he had been arrested many times for voicing out his sentiments against the government. He noted that he had been falsely accused of disrupting social order and lives under constant surveillance.

"Today's Chinese Communist Party does not represent the interests of the majority of Chinese people, just the wealthy minority class," Zhang said.

Bloomberg reported that Evan Guo, the chief executive officer of Zhaopin Ltd., operator of one of the country's biggest job websites, recently said in a statement that labor laws in China are being changed to let companies fire workers easily.

He believes that this strategy will let companies create new jobs to decrease skill mismatches that lead to bigger problems in the market. 

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