China taxi driv­ers in hos­pi­tal af­ter pes­ti­cide protest

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

More than 30 taxi driv­ers were hos­pi­tal­ized af­ter ap­par­ently drink­ing pes­ti­cide dur­ing a protest in cen­tral Bei­jing over a dis­pute with au­thor­i­ties, po­lice said Satur­day.

The driv­ers, none of whose lives were deemed to be in dan­ger so far, were all from the north­east­ern Chi­nese prov­ince of Hei­longjiang, Bei­jing po­lice said in a state­ment.

“They came to Bei­jing to ex­press their de­mands on con­tract and ve­hi­cle re­newal,” the brief state­ment posted on the of­fi­cial so­cial me­dia ac­count of the Bei­jing Public Se­cu­rity Bureau said.

It iden­ti­fied them as “in­di­vid­ual” taxi driv­ers, which means they do not work for taxi com­pa­nies but in­stead con­tract with gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear ex­actly what they were protest­ing against.

The in­ci­dent took place in the cap­i­tal’s land­mark Wang­fu­jing shop­ping street, a popular pedes­trian-only area lined with shops, some sell­ing luxury goods.

Of­fi­cers on pa­trol found the driv­ers on Satur­day morn­ing ly­ing on the street in front of a build­ing with pes­ti­cide bot­tles nearby and im­me­di­ately ar­ranged for them to be trans­ported to a nearby hos­pi­tal for treat­ment, the state­ment said.

It was un­clear on how much, if any, of the pes­ti­cide was ac­tu­ally con­sumed.

The state­ment said that the driv­ers were all from Suifenhe city in Hei­longjiang, which bor­ders Rus­sia, and that po­lice were in­ves­ti­gat­ing in co­or­di­na­tion with pro­vin­cial au­thor­i­ties.

Protests over la­bor, land, en­vi­ron­men­tal and other dis­putes are fre­quent in China and are thought to num­ber in the tens of thou­sands an­nu­ally.

The rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party, wary of the po­lit­i­cal threat so­cial un­rest could have, mon­i­tors gath­er­ings closely and can crack down if they turn vi­o­lent, show signs of co­or­di­na­tion be­yond the given lo­cale or are fo­cused on hu­man rights is­sues.

There have been an in­creas­ing num­ber of large-scale en­vi­ron­men­tal protests in re­cent years, es­pe­cially in ur­ban ar­eas.

Po­lice de­tained 22 pro­test­ers Thurs­day for al­legedly block­ing trains and harm­ing public prop­erty at a high-speed train sta­tion in south China’s Guang­dong prov­ince, the of­fi­cial Xin­hua News Agency re­ported Satur­day, cit­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.