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China: Nationwide Teachers’ Strike

Since this October, teachers in Sichuan, Chongqing, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Hunan, Hubei, Guangdong went on strike, demanding a salary raise.

According to local media report, the strike started from Sichuan Pi Region (陴縣) in Sep 23, teachers demanded local government to follow national law (such as Teachers Law) and raise the salary of teacher to the level of local civil servant. After 3 days of strike, local government gave in and promised to increase the teachers’ salary level. With this successful story, teachers from nearby provinces started similar action, but got repressed. By mid October, the collective action was spread to Chongqing with hundreds of teachers joining in. In Nov 5, the Sichuan strike was harmonized, however, it spreads quickly to other province.

A long strike list

Zol maps out this wave of teacher strikes across the country:

2008.12.09湖南省邵阳市大祥区教师罢课
2008.12.09湖南省涟源市2000多教师罢课
2008.12.09河南省洛阳市吉利区中小学教师自发请病假一天
2008.12.09湖南省永州市双牌县教师集体到政府提交请愿书及抗议书
2008.12.09湖北省枝江教师罢课
2008.12.08陕西省汉中市城固县教师罢课
2008.12.05湖南省新邵教师罢课
2008.12.01湖南省邵东县3000教师大罢课
2008.12.01-3湖南省隆回县教师教师大罢课
2008.11.27内蒙古赤峰市宁城县教师罢课
2008.11.26湖北省武汉市汉南区教师罢课
2008.11.24陕西省宁强县数百教师上访
2008.11.24湖北省鄂州市梁子湖区教师罢课
2008.11.20江苏泰州泰兴部分学校罢课。
2008.11.18号四川省泸州市合江县先市中学、大桥学校、佛宝学校等罢课
2008.11.17湖南省娄底市新化县教师大罢课
2008.11.17广西自治区钦州市某幼儿园教师罢课
2008.11.13重庆市永川区退休教师上访
2008.11.13辽宁省葫芦岛市连山区教师罢课
2008.11.12湖南省娄底市娄星区500余名教师上访
2008.11.12湖北省潜江教师大罢课
2008.11.11湖北省潜江周矶中学罢课
2008.11.10重庆市永川区退休教师上访
2008.11.10四川省凉山州会理县罢课
2008.11.10陕西省安塞县教师罢课
2008.11.06湖南省永州市新田县教师大罢课
2008.11.04四川省宜宾市宜宾县教师大罢课 
2008.11.03陕西省汉中市西乡县教师大罢课
2008.11.03黑龙江省齐齐哈尔市铁锋区数百教师上访
2008.11.03广东省湛江市东海岛教师罢课
2008.11.01重庆市永川区退休教师上访
2008.11.01重庆市綦江县教师千人签名
2008.10月 四川省成都市武侯区机投中学罢课
2008.10.月份成都市武侯区也有学校罢课
2008.10.XX山东省新泰市青云办事处教师罢课 
2008.10.28重庆市江津区部分学校罢课
2008.10.28四川省马边彝族自治县的老师罢课
2008.10.27左右重庆市荣昌县小规模罢课
2008.10.27重庆市万州区部分学校罢课
2008.10.27福建省南平市政和县部分乡镇中学老师罢课
2008.10.24重庆市江津区退休教师上书请愿
2008.10.23重庆市綦江县教师大罢课
2008.10.23重庆市大足县小规模罢课
2008.10.23重庆市璧山县小规模罢课
2008.10.23四川省泸州市江阳区部分学校罢课
2008.10.22重庆市长寿区教师大罢课
2008.10.21旬四川省遂宁市大英县教师罢课 
2008.10.21四川省遂宁市安居区决山初中全校罢课
2008.10.17重庆市永川区教师全体大罢课
2008.10.15四川省绵竹大规模教师罢课
2008.10.13四川省什邡大规模教师罢课
2008.10.13四川省华蓥大规模老师罢课
2008.10.09四川省资中县大规模老师罢课   
2008.10.09四川省广安区老师罢课
2008.10.08重庆市铜梁县教师“非正常上访事件”
2008.10.07辽宁省大连长兴岛教师罢课 
2008.10.06邛崃大规模老师罢课
2008.09.23四川省郫县大规模老师罢课

2008.12.09 Daxiang district, Shaoyang City, Hunan Province (teachers’ strike)
2008.12.09 Lianyuan City, Hunan Province (more than 2000 teachers join the strike)
2008.12.09 Geely district, Luoyang City, Henan (primary and secondary school teachers collective sick leave)
2008.12.09 Shuangpai county, Yongzhou city, Hunan (joint signature petition to local government)
2008.12.09 Zhijian, Hubei (teachers’ strike)
2008.12.08 Chenggu County, Hanzhong City, Shaanxi (teachers’ strike)
2008.12.05 XinShao, Hunan (teachers’ strike)
2008.12.01 Shaodong County, Hunan (3000 teachers’ strike)
2008.12.01-3 Longhui County, Hunan (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.27 Ningcheng County, Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia (teachers strike)
2008.11.26 Hannan district, Wuhan City, Hubei (teachers strike)
2008.11.24 Ningqiang County, Shaanxi (Hundreds of teachers petition visit to higher authorities)
2008.11.24 Liangzi Lake district, Ezhou, Hubei (Teachers’ strike)
2008.11.20 Taixing, Taizhou, Jiangsu (some schools joined the strike)
2008.11.18 He Jiang County, Luzhou City, Sichuan (some schools joined the strike)
2008.11.17 Xinhua County, Loudi City, Hunan (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.17 Qinzhou City, Guangxi autonomous region (a kindergarten school teacher strike)
2008.11.13 Yongchuan District, Chongqing (retired teachers petition visit)
2008.11.13 Lianshan districk, Huludao City, Liaoning (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.12 Louxing district, Loudi City, Hunan (500 teachers’ petition visit)
2008.11.12 Qianjian, Hubei (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.11 Qianjian, Hubei (a secondary school joined the strike)
2008.11.10 Yongchuan district, Chongqin (retired teachers’ visit petition)
2008.11.10 Huili County, Liangshan, Sichuan (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.10 Ansai County, Shannxi (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.06 Xintian County, Yongzhou City, Hunan (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.04 Yibin County, Yibin City, Sichuan (teachers’ strike) 
2008.11.03 Xixiang County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi (teachers’ strike)
2008.11.03 Tiefeng district, Qiqihar City, Heilongjiang (hundreds of teachers petition visit)
2008.11.03 Donghai Island, Zhangjian City, Guangdong Province (teachers strike)
2008.11.01 Yongchuan district, Chongqing (retired teachers petition visit)
2008.11.01 Qijiang County, Chongqing (a thousand teacher signature campaign)
2008.10月 Wuhou District, Chengdu, Sichuan (a secondary school joined the strike)
2008.10 Qingyun office, Xintai City, Shandong (teachers’ strike) 
2008.10.28 Jianjin district, Chongqing (some schools joined the strike)
2008.10.28 Mabian Yi ethnic groups autonomous county, Sichuan (teachers’ strike)
2008.10.27 Rongchang County, Chongqing (small scale teachers’ strike)
2008.10.27 Wanzhou district, Chongqing (some school joined in the strike)
2008.10.27 Nanping, Fujina (teachers’ strike)
2008.10.24 Jianjing district, Chongqing (retired teachers visit petition)
2008.10.23 Jianjing district, Chongqing (teachers strike)
2008.10.23 Dazu County, Chongqing, (Small scale strike)
2008.10.23 Bishan County, Chongqing (small scale strike)
2008.10.23 Jiang Yang district, Luzhou City, Sichuan (some school joined)
2008.10.22 Changshou district, Chongqing (teachers strike)
2008.10.21 Suining City, Daying county in Sichuan Province (teachers strike)
2008.10.21 Anji district, Suining City, Sichuan Province (a school joined in)
2008.10.17 Yongchuan district, Chongqing (teachers’ strike)
2008.10.15 Mianzhu of Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)
2008.10.13 Shifang, Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)
2008.10.13 Ying-hua, Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)
2008.10.09 Zizhong County, Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)
2008.10.09 Guangan, Sichuan Province (teachers’ strike)
2008.10.08 Tongliang County, Chongqin City (petition visit)
2008.10.07 Changxing Island in Dalian, Liaoning Province (teachers strike)
2008.10.06 Qiong Lai County in Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)
2008.09.23 Pi County in Sichuan Province (large scale teachers’ strike)

Forum and chatroom closed down, connection reset

With so many on-going strikes, there are so few information in the mainstream media and on the Internet. According to the report of New Tang Dynasty, since December 15, internet forums and QQ groups of the schools and teachers involved were forced to closed down. hwq917 noticed that teachers’ strike has become a sensitive words back in Nov:

这几天,只要在百度里输入“教师罢·课”或者“四川教师罢·课”等关键词进行搜索,你会发现找到的相关网页有十几万条,可是除了在快照里能够窥见部分对教师的不理解、指责甚至漫骂的文字之外,其余的都已鲜见踪迹

In the past few days, if you enter “teachers strike” or “Sichuan teachers’ strike” in the Baidu search, even though you can find millions of entries, but you can only find in the cache some criticism against the teachers, while other opinions are missing.

In writing this post, search engines from major forums and blog hosting platform would reset my connection whenever I key in “teachers’ strike” (罢课)!

A case study: independent teacher union please

Greatsunrise's semi academic post luckily remains online and re-posted in other blogs. The blogger picks up a teachers’ strike in Hedong district, Baotou City Inner Mongolia in order to look into the problems teachers are facing. It seems that the poorer the district, teachers are in a more vulnerable position:

現在的社會發展壓力,導致了教師階層普遍成為一個弱勢群體,尤其是在落後地區,不但因為本身財政上無法增加為教育上的撥款,而且還要挪用教育上的撥款來填 補其他方面財政上的漏洞。東河區的GDP是包頭市區最低的,財政收入最少的。

The stress from development has pressed the teachers to become a vulnerable social group. In particular, in underdeveloped region, the local governments don't have the capacity to invest on education, instead they are using the education resources to fill up the holes in the local finance. Hedong district has the lowest GDP in Baotou City, and the government income is also lowest in the region.

According to the writer, back in 1996, the Hedong government has allocated the education funding to fill up the deficits and result in late payment and a big cut in teachers’ salary. As for the latest round of strike:

包頭市東河區因拖欠教師工資,不執行國家對教師的工資制度以及強制捐款等問題引發所有學校教師罷課,已從2008年12月10日至11日兩日,但問題仍然沒有得到有效解決。教師罷課仍在持續擴散中。

The teachers’ strike lasted for two days from 10-11 December 2008, it is a result of late payment, salary level is not according to national regulation, and forced donation. The problems have not been solved and the strike continues to spread.

該思考的是,如何保障教師本身的權益問題。在國外很多國家都有教師協會和工會類似的組織來謀求教師本身的福利,而在中國大陸,特別是老少邊窮地區,受到各方法制限制,無法形成獨立的組織,而且還要面對政府、學生、家長和社會的壓力。維護教師權益的關鍵,絕非來自於政府的施捨與恩給,而是取決於法律的保障與會員的團結…

The issue a stake is how to protect the teacher's rights. In foreign countries, they have teacher association and union to protect the teachers’ benefit. In mainland China, especially in poor districts, because of various limitations, teachers don't have independent organization. On the other hand, they have to be pressured by the government, students, parents and the society as a whole. The key to protect teacher's rights shouldn't come from the government's benevolent policy, but depends on law and the solidarity of teachers…

而教師普遍憤怒的是,區委、政府和教育局官員們經常會去以下崗、不續聘、、、諸多方式來威脅教師。面對教師們要求生存權利的呼聲,官員以一種居高臨下的姿態,以蔑視和冷漠示人,這確實是一種讓外界憂心的危險信號。而很多教師也迫於被秋後算賬的問題而不敢尋求福利。

Teachers anger comes from various threats made by the district committee, officials from the government and education bureau. They would threaten the teachers with lay off, discontinuation of contract, etc. In front of teachers call for rights, the officials are indifferent and cold, this is a dangerous signal. Many teachers are afraid of prosecution after autumn, and they dare not come out to demand better treatment.

Netizens’ opinions

Since I failed to get information from the local search engines, I can only look into comment session of local mainstream report to get a sense of people's reaction towards the teachers’ strike. Below are two most popular opinions In the comment session of an investigation report on the Sichuan teachers's strike at 163.com:

河北石家庄网友 2008-11-26 09:07:44

校长贵族化,领导多员化,教师奴隶化,学生祖宗化,人际复杂化,加班日夜化,上班无偿化,检查严厉化,待遇民工化,翻身是神话。

From Hebei Shijiazhoung 2008-11-26 09:07:44

School principals become aristocrat, too many leaders, teachers are slaves, students become your ancestors (or bosses), complicated interpersonal relation, working overtime days and nights, without compensation, tough evaluation and checking while salary is like that of a migrant workers, change is a myth.

上海卢湾网友 2008-11-26 09:30:59

公务员工资太高,老师不乐意了,这样吧,把公务员工资减少2/3,和老师们接轨,这样老师们就可以工作了,同意的点支持

From Luwan, Shanghai 2008-11-26 09:30:59

The salary of civil servant is too high and teachers are not happy, why not cut the salary of civil servant by 2/3, so it becomes the same with the teachers. Then teachers can be back to work. Please click support.

3 comments

  • 杨佳

    The whole country has been turned into a madhouse! The CCP dictatorship’s taste has veered towards rock n’ roll!! It’s rocking itself to death…

  • Cecilia Teng

    The teachers chose striking to pretect theirs rights.that’s the progressive of the democracy

  • […] up social problems in the past has now faltered, social unrests erupt. Bus drivers, cabbies, and teachers have one after another launched strikes throughout the year and the country to argue for not only […]

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