Workers Victims of the Largest Bankruptcy in China Fighting for their Rights for 14 Years

During the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, nearly 300 former employees of the Guangdong International Trust and Investment Corporation (GITIC) protested at the company’s headquarter in Guangzhou on 12 October, demanding the payment of compensations which was promised by the company more than a decade ago.  The rights defending actions of these workers lasted for more than ten years, some took turns to protest at GITIC during their day offs hopeful that their compensations would be repaid one day.

These workers worked at GITIC some 20 years ago in the logistics services (such as cleaning, security).  They maintained their positions during GITIC’s bankruptcy proceedings, as the company promised that all compensations would be paid to the workers without prejudice once the bankruptcy proceedings and the sale of the company’s assets were completed.  However, such promise has yet to be fulfilled until now.

GITIC was established in July 1980 and under the approval of the People's Bank of China, GITIC became a non-bank financial institutions in 1983.  At that time, GITIC was a state approved local-level “window company” that allowed foreign loans and bonds which was only second to CITIC in size.  However, GITIC went into liquidation due to excessive debts in 1999, and applied for bankruptcy to the court together with its three subsidiaries.  When the bankruptcy proceedings completed in 2003, the court presided over the sale of the company’s assets that lasted for more than a decade.  Finally in June this year, all assets of GITIC were purchased by China Vanke at the price of RMB 55.1 billion.  The liquidation of GITIC was coined as the largest bankruptcy case in China and generated much attentions in China as well as the international financial community.

Despite the GITIC bankruptcy case is finally settled, the logistics workers who devoted so much to the company have yet to receive any reasonable compensation that was once promised by the company.  Is this the “China Model” that has been long lauded by the leadership of Xi Jinping?  And is this the choice for humankind that is built upon workers scarifications and deceptions?