More than three million Chinese workers employed in various sectors were involved in labor demonstrations last year, according to the China Labor Bulletin, or 15 percent more than in 2002, and actual labor strikes are becoming more frequent and better organized across the country. At Xiangyang; in the province of Shanghai, 6,800 textile workers went on strike a few days ago, claiming that their labor contracts were abusive.
Meanwhile, 10 of the workers who went on trial for disturbances at Stella factories in April have been sentenced to between two and three-and-a-half years in prison by the Dongguan Municipal People’s Court, according to the labor rights bulletin and activist group. Three of the workers, who are 16 years old now, were below the legal minimum working age when hired. The convictions for “intentional destruction of property” were handed down in two separate trials, each dealing with five defendants, but have not been publicly announced.
The disturbances occurred when workers complained about Stella’s working conditions, and the actions of the convicted defendants were caught on camera. Some if not all of the workers are likely to appeal. The court handed down the sentences despite receiving a letter from Stella and many of its buyers, including Nike and Reebok, asking for leniency. The group said they would support an appeals process for the convicted workers, while Stella has promised to pay the minimum wage to their families while they are in prison.