China

China media: Labour issues

  • 2 May 2013
  • From the section China
Local and striking dock workers chant slogans during a protest calling for legislative restrictions on standard working hours, on Labour Day in Hong Kong, 1 May 2013
Image caption Thousands joined the street protests in Hong Kong on Labour Day

Media in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taipei discuss labour issues in the wake of May Day protest rallies and strikes.

News portal Sina cites the website of China Radio International (CRI) as saying that hundreds of taxi drivers in East China's Zhejiang went on strike on Wednesday.

The taxi drivers protested against ineffective control of unlicensed taxis, the rising cost of petrol and traffic congestion, the report says.

Over 4,000 people joined the striking dock workers in a street protest on Wednesday in Hong Kong, Apple Daily reports.

Another Hong Kong paper, Oriental Daily News, says the low pay of dock workers shows Hong Kong is losing its competitive edge in the trade compared to their competitors on the mainland.

It also says the fundamental reason for the issue is a widening wealth gap in society. "It is not purely a conflict between labour and capital, but has political factors," it concludes.

In Taiwan, tens of thousands of workers took to the streets of Taipei, calling on the government to protect their rights and urging legislators to reject a pension reform plan, which proposes more deductions from their wages, Taipei Times reports.

Glorious labour?

Hong Kong's Oriental Daily News carries an editorial entitled "The privileged sweep all; how come labour is glorious".

It questions the value Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping, have been advocating recently that labour is glorious, listing phenomena on the mainland that prove otherwise.

"The workers have been laid off, and the peasants have lost their land. The working people have become the lowest group in society," it says, adding that immigrant workers do the heaviest work, earn the least and are least respected.

Delegates representing the workers and the peasants are getting fewer and fewer at the national congress, it notices.

On the mainland, Southern Metropolis Daily shares the same view but takes a more positive approach.

In an editorial entitled "Dignity of labour needs rigid protection of law", the paper says contrary to what the national leaders advocate, daily life proves labour is worthless.

The paper says immigrant workers often have to threaten to commit suicide in order to get their payment.

"This shows the value of labour has suffered a heavy setback in the Chinese society", it adds, noting that "issues of labour rights are increasingly presenting themselves in the form of mass incidents".

It calls for employment law to be faithfully observed for the value of "labour being most glorious" to be widely accepted.

Defining aggression

Meanwhile, Liberation Army Daily rebuts Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's argument over the definition of aggression.

The paper criticises Mr Abe's remarks that "the definition of what constitutes aggression has yet to be established in academia or in the international community".

"There are increasing remarks from Japan denying the history of aggression. If it insists on following this path, it will not only negatively impact on regional peace and stability, and may even go back to the old path of launching new wars of aggression," the paper says.

Many newspapers and news portals also carry remarks made by Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai on territorial disputes.

Mr Cui said Japan rather than China is taking "unilateral or coercive actions" over the East China Sea islands dispute, and urged the US to remain neutral over the issue, Global Times reports.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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