Chinese protests ignite

Protests by workers at the Kaida factory in China, have spilled over into violence.
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Hundreds of workers sacked from a toy factory in China clashed with police and smashed buildings, authorities said Wednesday, in the latest bout of violent unrest linked to rising unemployment.

The riot occurred Tuesday in Guangdong province, where similar protests have flared recently, after about 2,000 workers gathered to demand severance pay.

The workers smashed offices at the factory where they used to work and overturned police cars, with the violence leaving six people injured, according to Government sources.

The riot occurred at the Kaida Toy Factory, a company owned by a Hong Kong firm in Zhongtang that is in the process of laying off workers.

The factory has been operating for more than 20 years and employed up to 6,500 workers.

Up to 7,000 laid-off workers staged a similar protest in Guangdong last month after another Hong Kong-owned toy factory, one of China’s biggest, closed down.

China’s social security minister, Yin Weimin, last week described the employment situation across the country as “critical,” as the nation’s police chief warned his deputies that this could lead to unrest.

“[You] should be aware of the challenge brought by the global financial crisis and try your best to maintain social stability,” Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu told his deputies.

China’s economy has slowed sharply in recent months amid the global crisis and the World Bank has forecast growth of 7.5 percent for next year, which would be the nation’s slowest expansion in nearly two decades.

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