The Nanfang / Blog

30,000 Workers Strike in Dongguan, Robots Planned As Replacements

Posted: 04/18/2014 2:58 pm

robot worker labor factory

Labor strife in Guangdong can be had to generalize: as some labor disputes flare up and workers are granted concessions, other labor protesters are convicted for “disturbing social order”. And so, we have the following pieces of news, both announced recently.

There are currently 30,000 workers are on strike at the Yu Yuan Industrial shoe making factory complex in Dongguan, the Associated Press reports. Workers have been protesting the company’s lack of social security and welfare benefits, and have been staging periodic work stoppages at the factory since April 5.

Yu Yuan makes components used in shoes by Nike, Adidas, Reebok and New Balance in a gigantic complex made up of ten separate factories. The Nanfang had first told you about this labor dispute back on April 7.

SEE: Foxconn to Replace Shenzhen Workers with Robots

Striker Cui Tiangang, 31, was adamant on the demands made by the workers. Cui said, “We expect at least an explanation, to give us an answer… We will keep on striking if there is no offer.”

If true to claims made by the organizers, this protest is the largest strike of its kind to ever take place in China. As historic an occasion that may be, Cui’s solidarity for his fellow worker may just be a quaint notion in the not-too distant future.

An industrial development guideline issued by the Guangzhou municipal government is encouraging the use of robots instead of human labor by providing companies with cash rebates. In fact, Guangzhou plans to have 80 percent of all its manufacturing production to be performed by robots instead of humans by 2020.

READ: Strike by Sanitation Workers in Guangzhou
Leaves the City Messy, But Wins a Pay Raise

That’s not all: the Guangzhou government is proposing to construct two or three robot industrial development zones. Each of these in turn will make 100,000 robot units a year by 2020.

It’s simply great that waves upon waves of robots will be given the jobs necessary to provide for their robot families, but a reliance upon technology does not always solve the problem at hand as seen in the documentary about the decline of American prosperity, Robocop (1987).

Sure, it will be great to reap the rewards of a worker that won’t go on strike, and will neither arrest nor harm any senior executives of OCP. Luo Jun, executive chairman of the International Robotics and Intelligent Equipment Industry Alliance, predicts the annual output value gained from the robotics industry in China will equal 300 billion yuan (US$48 billion) in 10 years.

READ: Dongguan Workers on Strike at Samsung Supply Factory

However, industry experts are warning against an over-reliance upon the Western market and its technology as well as the danger of overcapacity. At that point, both robots and workers will be out of a job.

Manufacturing production is a huge industry for China and if this sector should ever suffer a economic breakdown with catastropic consequences, we may be referring to Robocop more often. If it isn’t “I’ll buy that for a dollar!” then it will be this:

“Riches, leave.”

Photo: Robotics Business Review

More stories:
Bra Workers Strike After Being Told to “Jump Off a Roof”
Another Suicide at Foxconn? Employee Jumps Off 9th Floor After Slitting Wrists
Another Worker Plummets to His Death At Foxconn
Guangdong Factory Workers Strike After Being Insulted By Boss

Haohao

Guangzhou to Tax Construction Sites emitting too much dust

Posted: 04/18/2014 7:45 am

Taxing heavy polluters and coal-fired plants are common solutions to tackling China’s worsening air quality. Guangzhou, however, has opted to focus on a more unusual pollutant – flying dust.

Guangzhou Daily reported on April 17 that the city plans to levy a tax for excessive dust stirred up at construction sites. The policy will be introduced this August as part of Guangdong Province’s new fiscal measures to curb PM 2.5 emissions. The province vowed to lower its annual PM 2.5 concentration 15% by 2017.

Dust particles have become the latest subjects of taxation following research which demonstrated that they constitute 21% of the city’s total PM 2.5 emissions. Dust is a type of particulate matter, and when these particulates measure 2.5 micron or less, they are classified as PM 2.5.

RELATED: Expert says people in Guangzhou already have black lungs

PM 2.5 particulates are small enough to enter the lungs or bloodstream of humans and cause health damage including lung cancer, the leading cause of death in Guangzhou.

In December last year, Guangzhou had 792 ongoing construction projects, and 8 of them were singled out by the city’s environmental protection department for causing flying dust pollution and discharging excessive amounts of dust, the report said.

Compared with a RMB 8500 ($1,370) fine for these infractions, the environmental protection department believed the financial punishment was too lenient. The city has yet to finalize a set of standards for the fines, but according to the report, it will be based on the construction site’s size, its operational period and protection measures taken by its development company.

RELATED: China’s Pollution Wreaking Havoc on International Weather Patterns

The department said that any construction site measuring larger than 100,000 square meters should install CCTV cameras to monitor the amount of dust discharged and increase the frequency of spray surrounding roads with water to avoid raising dust.

Several construction sites will be selected to test out the results by August. If successful, the policy will be more broadly implemented by 2016.

READ MORE:
Cantonese Speakers the Most Susceptible to Nose and Throat Cancer: Report
Smog? What Smog? Guangzhou Expert Says it’s All Fog… Really
Dusty, Grimy Smog Blankets the Pearl River Delta 

Home page: Dongchu Evening Post 

Haohao

Demolition Begins on Hidden Forest House in Guangzhou

Posted: 04/17/2014 10:23 am

guangzhou illegal structure penthouse treehouse tianhe demolition extra stories“Clear-cutting” has begun on the forest built on top of a Guangzhou apartment building to hide illegally-constructed floors. Local chengguan and the owner of what has been called “Guangzhou’s most ‘niu’ illegal building” have reached an agreement to start demolition on the treehouse penthouse, Nanfang Daily reported.

We’re trying to imagine just what kind of negotiation took place as a source with the chengguan revealed the legality of the building was never actually determined. Instead, demolition was initiated since the owner was anxious Guangzhou residents couldn’t see the virtual forest for the trees.

guangzhou illegal structure penthouse treehouse tianhe demolition extra stories

In a move that may further deter the promotion of Shenzhen rooftops as a green space, we note with bemusement that the colloquial name given by the Chinese press to this apartment is “big green hat”. For those who have never been on the receiving end of this insult, “wearing a green hat” is the Chinese euphemism for  a “cuckold”.

Located in North Haitangge Neighborhood of Tianhe District, we imagine Poison Ivy is currently cursing at the Caped Crusader and is plotting from another secret lair, perhaps from the rooftop temple located in Shenzhen.

 

Photos: Nanfang Daily, ChinaNews via bzcm

Haohao

Hong Kong-Guangzhou High-Speed Rail Delayed Until 2016

Posted: 04/16/2014 2:38 pm

The Hong Kong-Guangzhou high-speed railway hit a snag recently when Hong Kong Transport Secretary Anthony Cheung Bing-leung announced delays would force the high-profile project to delay completion until 2015 and not be in operation until the year after, the SCMP reported.

Cheung revealed that he was “totally caught by surprise” when he learned of complications that arose from the rain storm last month and geological difficulties incurred at the digging site. This construction delay could end up costing Hong Kong taxpayers millions of dollars, although Cheung didn’t speculate on an amount.

With the project first scheduled to be completed next year and now very much behind schedule, Hong Kong’s elected officials blasted Cheung for the delays.

Michael Tien Puk-sun of the New People’s Party criticized Cheung for being irresponsible and told the SCMP, “Last year, he told us it was OK but now he expresses surprise. That means he did not cross check what the MTR Corp told him.”

Wu Chi-wai criticized Cheung for gross negligence: “I was surprised that he expressed surprise. As the principal official in charge of transport it is his job to monitor the MTR to ensure the project is delivered on time.”

Maybe there’s something about sitting in a freezing air-conditioned room all day that makes you burn with anger, but Hong Kongers should know that there’s an easier way — the Mainland way.

While the Chinese press has reported the news of the construction delay without the criticisms, they have gone one step further today by commemorating the reopening of the Guangzhou-Hong Kong railway. Yes, it’s time to acknowledge the benefits of the railways system that we have, and not the ones that don’t exist. At 35 years-old, this railway system has provided such valuable service despite not being any older than the “classic rock” music genre.

Who needs to arrive at their destination in under an hour when you can do it in under two-and-a-half hours? On a train that’s actually running? You’ve come a long way, baby!

No need to fret. Relax, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Photo: SCMP

Haohao

As Air Quality Worsens, Lung Cancer Becomes Leading Cause of Death in Guangzhou

Posted: 04/16/2014 8:00 am

Lung cancer has become the number one cause of death in Guangzhou as the city battles its worsening air quality, according to figures released by the Guangzhou Disease Control Center’s tumor monitoring department.

In a report made by Nandu on April 15, breast cancer is the deadliest type of cancer among women, but lung cancer is revealed as the leading cause of deaths for both men and women. Out of the 100,000 cancer patients, 47,000 suffer from lung cancer, the figures showed.

And the situation is not looking any better in the province as a whole. The incidence of cancer in Guangdong is 23.5 percent higher than the national level, while the number of deaths caused by cancer in the province is 7.5 percent higher than the national level, according to the province’s disease control center. To put the figure into perspective, the center said among every five people who die in Guangdong, one is caused by cancer.

The situation in the city of Guangzhou is even grimmer as one in four deaths in the city is attributed to cancer. Every year, the city adds 22,000 new cancer patients, the report said. The city has a population of 8 million people.

The report, however, did not say the causes behind the city’s increasing lung cancer patients. But China’s ex-health minister Chen Zhu had previously stated the country’s smog is responsible for 350,000 premature deaths each year, the South China Morning Post reported.

Home page image: residents in Zhengzhou wear oxygen masks for fresh air.
Photo credit: China News

Haohao

Labour Unrest Grows in Guangdong With Two More High-Profile Protests

Posted: 04/15/2014 7:07 pm

galanz factory riot demonstration wages rampage labor

A day before Guangzhou hospital security guards were convicted for disturbing social order by protesting low wages, workers at a Galanz factory in Zhongshan rioted due to unfair wages.

Yesterday, a Weibo post (now deleted) reported a riot had broken out in the dormitories at the Galanz factory during the early morning of April 14. 2,000 workers were said to be protesting against a low wage standard that was below than that promised during recruitment, 21st Century Business Herald reported.

However, the management at Galanz gave a different version of the incident. They confirmed that a protest had indeed occurred at the factory by the workers. However, instigated by workers who had been drinking, only approximately 200 workers got involved in the unrest while those not involved presumably had a difficult time trying to fall asleep.

At present, the unrest is over and an investigation is pending after police were called in.

As for what could happen if protests are taken too far: Several hospital security guards involved in a high-profile labor protest in Guangzhou last year were convicted today, Reuters reports.

After negotiations between the Guangzhou Chinese Medicine University Hospital and other workers would leave them with nothing, the convicted security guards climbed to the roof and threatened to jump before detained by police on August 19 of last year.

All 12 accused were found guilty of “disturbing social order”, but received comparably light punishments with the longest sentence being nine months. A lawyer for one of the convicted guards, Duan Yi, explained that China’s leaders are still liable to crack down on labor activists:

“They are sending a signal to society at large which is that as workers protect their rights, if they are even slightly extreme they could receive criminal punishment.”

As a family member pointed out, none of the convicted had put any other people in danger, and yet they have been incarcerated up until the trial today.

It would seem that a dialog between both labor and management is the way by which a compromise can be achieved, and yet such an outcome is not assured when management like Galanz occupies an infallible position. They had explained their stance on the rioting workers’ demands by saying:

The company will do its best to fulfill all the rational requests of its employees.

If it ain’t rational, it ain’t being fulfilled.

Photos: Weibo

Haohao

Shenzhen, Dongguan, Huizhou to Share Extended Subway Network

Posted: 04/14/2014 3:26 pm

The proposed inter-provincial transportation system announced last year that will connect the three cities of Shenzhen, Dongguan and Huizhou is promising to provide trips of only 60 minutes in length to commuters riding two trains under ideal circumstances.

The Guangdong Provincial Transportation Department announced its proposal up for ratification on April 11 that will unify the separate cities of the Pearl River Delta into a singular urban amalgamation. The proposal also outlines how a trip from one transportation hub to another should only take 30 minutes, and how the network will be extensive enough to allow commuters to walk to any downtown core area from a subway station in just 15 minutes.

Scheduled to be completed in 2030, the ambitious plan will see Shenzhen establish two subway lines to Huizhou, and another three to Dongguan.  The entire subway network will consist of three north-south lines, four east-west lines, and a subsidiary line in addition to new road and railway network that would see commuters travelling from Guangzhou to Hong Kong in one hour’s time.

Things do sound good in theory, though we’ve seen that things put into practice aren’t as ideal. The Shenzhen-Xiamen high-speed rail which broke down in a tunnel recently was touted to last only three hours, whereas it now journeys for four. Still, commuters are able at present to enjoy features like surfing free internet to pass the time as others drop the gloves, their civility  or a diamond deuce.

Photo: Nandu

Haohao

Guy Builds a Forest on a Guangzhou Apartment Building to Hide Illegal Floors

Posted: 04/14/2014 1:12 pm

roof garden hidden building guangzhou penthouse

In this environmentally-friendly age we’re often urged to consider the needs of Mother Nature before our own comforts; however, one Guangzhou resident had an ulterior motive to “thinking green” when he used foliage and trees to allegedly hide two illegally-built floors atop his penthouse apartment.

A rooftop villa on Guangzhou Linhe East Road in the Haitangge neighborhood is suspected of trying to camouflage its illegal structures by completely covering them with green paint, vines and shrubbery.

Chengguan that visited the exterior of the structure said the additional floors may cause cracking of the structure below.

The reporting of illegal rooftop structures in China have shown a pent-up desire for residential expansion. Twelve illegal rooftop buildings have been reported in Guiyang, Guizhou province of which four can be seen here and includes one that looks like a castle.

Shenzhen has had its own case of penthouse growing pains when local media reported that a Nanshan District penthouse apartment had constructed a temple on its roof and was being investigated by city authorities.

The most widely reported case would be the illegal rooftop terrace in Beijing that was recently demolished. Extensively decorated with trees, shrubbery and fake rock over 800 square meters, owner Zhang Biqing was initially given the order to dismantle it within 15 days, but required four months before demolition was complete.

Zhang said he became ill after his “garden” was exposed and remains in poor health. Stating he often has nightmares, Zhang said,

“My family members prevent me from reading news and don’t even allow me to watch TV. I am not coming back to Beijing in the near future because I am worried that I couldn’t bear to see that my garden is gone.”

With such an adverse effect upon inspired rooftop enthusiasts, it appears there is a literal ceiling that caps all dreamers from reaching out to the stars, one floor at a time. Hopefully these cases do not signify a real estate grab that would prematurely end Shenzhen’s plans for rooftop gardening.

 

Photos: 163

Haohao

11,000 More Armed Cops to Begin Patrolling the Streets of Guangzhou

Posted: 04/14/2014 11:14 am

police patrol guangzhou

How do you feel about the current state of public security in China? Well, how about we add guns, and people wielding them in public places… now, do you feel safer?

That’s the equation spelled out by the Guangdong public security bureau as an additional 11,000 police officers will be patrolling the streets of Guangzhou starting May 1. Lu Feng, deputy-director of the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau, told Global Times that the additional patrols will include police special forces, plainclothes officers, security officers and auxiliary police force and will be working in tandem with the city’s video surveillance system.

While the plan is to have the patrols begin next month, Guangzhou residents were lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the state of policing to come when an estimated 1,300 police were assigned to patrols this past Qingming Festival. Hyped as the “most heavily-guarded Qingming in history,” the patrols were mostly centered around Yinhe Park in which patrolling police officers were seen outfitted with semi-automatic rifles, bullet-proof vests, and a demeanor that is intimidating/comforting through intimidation.

Seen as a response to the Kunming attacks on March 1 that killed 33 people, some experts are predicting that such police patrols will become commonplace. Said Wang Hongwei, a professor with the School of Public Administration and Policy at the Renmin University of China: “It’s more normal to see armed police patrols now, and this will increase the ability to deal with emergencies by effectively cracking down on criminals while improving the practical training of the police force.”

In other related security news, Shenzhen looks to increase its police presence to all 148 hospitals by the end of the year to stop violent attacks upon hospital staff. The Shenzhen Health Authority stated that 128 medical workers were injured in 130 cases last year, a large increase from having 50 injured staff members from 57 cases that happened back in 2010.

Hopefully such security tactics will prevent any further attacks in major urban centers where they will be highly publicized to a fearful populace.

Photo: Chinanews

Haohao

Van Crashes into Guangzhou Supermarket, 1 Dead, 4 Injured

Posted: 04/12/2014 8:52 pm

guangzhou van crash supermarketguangzhou van crash supermarket

A van crashed into a Xiaoxianyizhan supermarket in Guangzhou today (April 12) at around 12pm killing one man, reported the Weibo account of Guangzhou Daily.

The accident occurred at Xuanxiatiansan Road in Baiyun District. A male pedestrian walking past the store entrance was killed while three shoppers and one female employee inside the supermarket were injured and later sent to hospital for medical treatment.

The accident is under investigation by police.

Photos: Guangzhou Daily Weibo

Haohao
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