After the cabbies strike in Chonqing which about 9000 drivers participated and over 100 taxis and 3 police cars were smashed during the course, another taxi strike broke out on 10, Nov, in the southern tourism city Sanya.
The cause, the same with the one in Chongqing, is overly high price charged by the taxi companies that are questioned to be monopoly, and the unfair competition with unlicensed taxis.
It was the third strike action by taxi drivers in China in 10 days. At as early as 6 am, about 200 drivers have gathered at the Sanya government headquarter to protest. [picture]They prosecuted that the taxi companies didn’t follow the regulated price set by the authority, and kept charging exorbitant fees for the cars they operate.
Media reported that the local street is nearly clear of taxis, and citizens had to take bus or motorcycle cabs instead.
Police reported that in some places the strike upgraded into violence. Cab drivers who refused to join in the operation were said to be beaten, and 28 have been arrested. The police alleged they were possibly gang members. But as the strike enters the 3rd day, more cab drivers demand the police to release their colleagues.
Representatives from each side, the government and cab drivers, were negotiating for a solution. The mayor apologized to the drivers for the loose regulation, and promised an all-in effort to give a satisfactory response.
Regarding that the arrested were categorized as gang members, lloouu222 on the internet mocked:
Netizen 新李寻欢 warned:
A netizen named “I am Sanya driver”我是三亚司机 said:
I am in support of the strike. We will not return to work until the government gives a satisfactory response. Everyone has been to Sanya would agree that it has the largest number of unlicensed cabs. Who has ever tried to catch them? All they (possibly refer to police that impose fine) know is to catch us.
Strikes are rare in China, because the authority will both crack down and muzzle the media report on such events. But the recent strike in Chongqing received an exceptional media coverage, and meanwhile, the government gave a positive solution that the fee was soon lowered and industry associations were allow to set up.
The Wall Street Journal cited a Chinese lawyer's comment in a long introductory passage of the recent cab driver strikes:
The Chongqing strike, which began Nov. 3, “made an impact,” said Zhou Litai, a Chongqing-based labor-rights lawyer. “People noticed that it worked.”
Therefore, it might have an exemplary effect to the those grieved cab drivers all over the country. But blogger Ratbaby noticed that this time the action of police might upgrade the clash:
According to the administration, 21 suspects were forced away to police station for investigation, because they fanned violence, smashed and blocked taxis in normal service. But no one would not know that it is a convential way the authority deals with any situation as the idiom goes; “to kill the leading one to deter other hundreds”(杀一儆百).
And he warned against that,
Right now, the 4-day strike has come to an end. Cabs were persuaded back to work. But dose this mean a real solution, or, actually a signal of more incoming storms?