China unrest: Zengcheng migrants urged to inform

Workers stitch jeans at a small factory in Zengcheng on June 15, 2011
Image caption Thousands of migrant workers labour in garment factories in Zengcheng

China has offered rewards to migrant workers willing to inform on colleagues involved in recent mass riots in the south-eastern city of Zengcheng.

The Zengcheng Daily published a notice offering workers residency permits - which would give them greater access to services like education and healthcare.

The notice also offered up to 10,000 yuan ($1,500; £1,000) cash rewards.

Hundreds of workers, many from Sichuan province, rioted after a pregnant street vendor was allegedly assaulted.

The rioters targeted government buildings and set cars alight in three days of unrest.

Hundreds of security personnel were sent to restore order last Monday, and witnesses say the city is still under tight control.

'Plead for leniency'

The riot was sparked after reports that a pregnant street trader had been shoved to the ground by security guards after being made to move her stall.

But the workers' anger then turned against the government, with long-held grievances about corruption and abuse of power coming to the surface.

Migrant workers are often paid meagre wages, and China's tight control of internal migration means they are not given the same rights as full residents of the cities where they work.

Police said last week that 25 people had been arrested over the unrest.

The notice in the Zengcheng Daily urged the public "not to fall under the influence of those seeking to incite and instigate".

"We urge the criminals to surrender as soon as possible, to confess their acts in order to plead for leniency," it said.

Migrant workers were offered cash, local residency and "outstanding migrant worker" titles in exchange for information.

Analysts say the offer indicates that the authorities are struggling to track down suspects over the violence.

Zengcheng has a booming garments industry, and its 800,000-strong population has been boosted by thousands of migrant workers in recent years.

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