December 11, 2009 / 1:31 PM / 10 years ago

Hundreds of China workers clash over factory site

BEIJING (Reuters) - Twenty-six people were wounded when more than 300 Chinese workers battling for control of a factory site in Guangdong province clashed with explosives, rocks and steel pipes, state media said on Friday.

The flare-up, which illustrates the difficulties of industrial restructuring in China, happened on Thursday when a team from Shenzhen Qiushuo Investment and Development Co. arrived on the site of a concrete pipe manufacturer, after winning it in a court-administered auction, Xinhua news agency said.

They were fought off by workers from a Beijing-based pipe producer, which had rented the site, Xinhua said, citing a spokesman with the municipal government.

The opponents had set to with steel pipes when police intervened. Twenty-six people were injured, ten of them seriously, Xinhua said.

“Employees with the Beijing company set off explosives, hurled stones at the receiver, and ignited an explosive liquid,” Xinhua said.

Clashes between outside firms and local workers or villagers concerned with wages or compensation are increasingly common in China. In some cases, the locals fight on behalf of businessmen or officials with clashing interests.

Earlier this year, Chinese workers at steel mills clashed with representatives of private firms trying to take over their steel company.

Separately on Friday, a Guangdong court sentenced nine villagers for up to five years in jail, after a June clash in which they attempted to halt construction of a cement plant. They attacked policemen with rocks and clubs, Xinhua said.

The country government had given the cement company the rights to the village quarry, in return for compensation to the village committee of 0.3 yuan per tonne of stone, Xinhua said.

The price of cement in South China is over 300 yuan per tonne, according to industry website China Cement.

Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Nick Macfie and Sanjeev Miglani

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