A group of armed men attacked as many as 300 migrant construction workers who were striking over unpaid wages . At least one person is reported to be fighting for his life and six others were injured in the clashes in Heyuan city, in Guangdong province.
Nearly 300 workers went on strike last Friday after they had gone four months without wages while working on the construction site of a hydropower station at Heyuan, local media reported.
They were said to be demanding their salaries from the Fuyuan energy firm when as many as 300 armed men arrived at the site. The first batch of about 50 gangsters came with spades in their hands, and the second batch had axes, steel pipes and sabres, and there were more behind them.
Local media denounced the incident in unusually strongly worded editorials, alleging collusion between the power firm and local government officials, and drawing parallels with the recent furore over forced labour in brick kilns in the north. Rights groups say China's estimated 200 million migrant workers -- who in recent years have flocked from the vast, poor countryside to the booming cities -- often lack health care, may have their pay withheld and are vulnerable to exploitation.