January – March 2019 

Location: Luoyang, Henan; Zhangjiajie, Hunan 

Participants: Over one hundred 

In the first quarter of 2019, workers suffering from silicosis continued their protests for medical compensation. There are mainly two groups of workers demanding fair treatment from the government. The first group is from Sangzhi County, Hunan, and the second group is from Ziyang CountyShaanxi. 

Thirty-three people working on construction sites from the Hunan group who petitioned the Shenzhen government in last November were dispatched from Shenzhen, where they had been working, back to Sangzhi County by force in early January. The Shenzhen government promised to pay each of them ¥1070 per month, but never did so. In the end, each worker received ¥259 per month from the Sangzhi County government instead. On February 1, eighty workers petitioned the county government for more compensation. The county government, however, stated that they could only raise the amount to ¥500 at most, as “relief money.” An official even warned the workers not to petition anymore  or “something bad” will happen to their children. 

On March 3 and 4, over fifty workers from Ziyang County, Shaanxi, travelled to Luoyang, Henan. They gathered at railway stations and squares in order to draw public attention to the risk of industrial dust. Many of them have been using pneumatic drills in their workplace in Yiyang County, Henan, and contracted silicosis due to the lack of protective measures. They petitioned the Yiyang County government, asking for medical compensation and provision of protective gear in the workplace. 

Silicosis has been a serious disease among factory workers in China for years. Most of the them are from China’s central and western provinces.