By the Blouin News Politics staff

Caving in, China buys off protesting coal miners

by in Asia-Pacific.

Chinese coal workers. (Source: miya qiu/flickr)

Chinese coal workers. (Source: miya qiu/flickr)

Beijing has put a speedy end to a protest by thousands of Chinese coal miners incensed over unpaid wages and layoffs in the northeast province of Heilongjiang. It started slowly last week and reached critical mass over the weekend, but the government began paying out wages on Mondayand by Tuesday the crowd had dispersed.

Shuangyashan mine is part of Longmay Group, which is owned by the provincial government. It is typical of many of China’s state-owned coal and steel enterprises — bloated, inefficient, and unprofitable. The miners were due two months’ wages, and were outraged when governor Lu Hao said the firm didn’t owe them anything. (Under pressure, he later had to apologize and admit wages were indeed withheld.)

Longmay Group is indisputably in need of restructuring. The firm uses…

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