Silicosis Victims Refused the So-called Compensation & Faced Crackdown
On 6 November 2018, over 100 silicosis victims and their family members protested at the Shenzhen Social Security Bureau in Shenzhen Human Resource Park. The protestors came originally from Hunan Province, worked as pneumatic drillers and contracted the occupational illness in Shenzhen. Therefore, they hoped the Shenzhen Government to assist them in settling the compensation issue. The authority refused their demands and triggered more victims and their families joining the protest. On 7 November, over 300 workers staged a march from the Social Security Bureau to City Government and continued a sit-in protest there. In the evening, the police dispersed them with tear gas, pepper spray and violence. Many workers and their family members were injured or felt sick and were taken to hospital.
In the same evening of the crackdown, some dozens of workers attempted to commit suicide by jumping from a tall building, forcing the authority to negotiate with them. Workers returned to the Shenzhen Human Resource Park and the next day, four officials came to meet them. Workers proposed that regardless the status of labour relations, victims should be compensated in accordance with the severity of illness. The authority refused this proposal and offered a fixed package: 200,000 Yuan to each deceased victim’s family, 120,000 Yuan, 170,000 Yuan or 220,000 Yuan to victims who cannot prove their labour relations, depending on the severity of their illness. Workers rejected this proposal, considering such a compensation scheme is an insult to their lives.
On 13 November, they encountered another crackdown. All protesters were removed from Shenzhen Human Resource Park, taken onto a coach and sent away. Officers of Shenzhen City Government distributed 2,000 Yuan of living allowance and 2,000 Yuan of medical allowance to the each victim/ family member during the ride. They promised to come up with a new compensation scheme within a month. Workers are waiting for it before they could plan further actions.
On 14 and 15 November, the 20th China Hi-Tech Fair was launched in Shenzhen Human Resource Park, with officials, headmasters and business representatives coming to discuss the status quo of human resource training and development in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. It is believed that the government needed to remove the silicosis workers urgently, as it needed the venue to host the Hi-Tech Fair.