Police in China shoot workers protesting over back pay:


Hong Kong, Jan 19 (Kyodo) Police in southern China''sGuangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region shot five people during aprotest over unpaid wages over the weekend, a human rightswatchdog said today.

The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracysaid about 100 construction workers of a project in CangwuCounty of Wuzhou City were heading to the municipal governmentbuilding Sunday when they were met by riot police who openedfire on the unarmed crowd.

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

Photographs posted on mainland websites show a crowdbelieved to be the workers and bystanders facing off with theriot police.

A spokesman for the Wuzhou police department, onlyidentified by his surname Xie, told Kyodo News that the rallywas deemed an "illegal march" but he declined to confirm ifpolice opened fire.

The Wuzhou municipal government referred questions tothe Cangwu county government, of which the propagandadepartment could not be reached for comment.

A Guangxi provincial government spokesman said he hasnot received any report of a shooting in Cangwu.

The center said the contractor of the propertydevelopment owes the workers USD 151,000 in wages, while otherreports said the contractor has fled to adjacent GuangdongProvince after the construction was finished. (Kyodo)

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