Police open fire on workers in Guangxi

Hong Kong, Jan 19 (Kyodo) Police in southern China”s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region shot five people during a protest over unpaid wages over the weekend, a human rights watch dog said today.

The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said about 100 construction workers of a project in Cangwu County of Wuzhou City were heading to the municipal government building Sunday when they were met by riot police who opened fire on the unarmed crowd.

The Hong Kong-based center quoted a hospital officer as saying that about 20 people were sent to the hospital for treatment, including five who sustained gunshot wounds.

Photographs posted on mainland websites show a crowd believed to be the workers and bystanders facing off with the riot police.

A spokesman for the Wuzhou police department, only identified by his surname Xie, told Kyodo News that the rally was deemed an “illegal march” but he declined to confirm if police opened fire.

The Wuzhou municipal government referred questions to the Cangwu county government, of which the propaganda department could not be reached for comment.

A Guangxi provincial government spokesman said he has not received any report of a shooting in Cangwu.

The center said the contractor of the property development owes the workers USD 151,000 in wages, while other reports said the contractor has fled to adjacent Guangdong Province after the construction was finished. (Kyodo)

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