Table: A Thousand Protests Blooming

Since Tiananmen, the government has faced rising discontent

JUNE 4, 1989

Protesting students in Tiananmen Square call for an end to official corruption. The army is sent in, hundreds are killed, and China becomes an international pariah.

JULY, 1997

Four thousand silk factory workers in Mianyang, Sichuan, demonstrate outside government offices when their factories are closed. It was a bold act of defiance at the time.


Labor activist Zhang Shangguang is sentenced to 10 years in prison in Huaihua, Hunan, for "endangering state security."


One thousand miners block a railway in Shaanxi over delayed salaries; 2,000 retired steelworkers barricade a road in Chongqing after their pensions are slashed.

JULY, 2000

More than 10,000 farmers riot in Yuandu, Jiangxi province. They surround government offices and demand an end to oppressively high taxes.

AUGUST, 2000

Fearful of losing their jobs, workers in a Tianjin joint venture packaging company take three expatriate managers hostage, including one American, for several days.


Thousands of workers in Wuhan, Hubei, and Chongqing block city streets and demand jobless benefits.

APRIL, 2001

A three-year dispute in the village of Yuntang, Jiangxi, over excessive taxation, ends violently when People's Armed Police open fire, killing two farmers and wounding at least 17.

MARCH, 2002

Tens of thousands of workers surround government buildings in the cities of Daqing, Fushun, and Liaoyang, demanding that city officials resign over unpaid benefits and back pay.

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