Chinese Migrant Workers Protest for Equal Civil Rights (2011)

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Time Period:  
Time period notes: 
The protest happened on 11 June 2011, and lasted until 1am on 12 June 2011.
June 11
June 12
Location and Goals
Location City/State/Province: 
Location Description: 
Area that is populated by a majority of migrant workers
To gain equal treatment to urban-born Chinese

spersed the protesters via bullets, tear gas, and beatings. This led to rioting and violence between a small minority of protestors and the security forces.

What had initially begun as a nonviolent protest to demonstrate unity evolved into a massive confrontation with most protestors attempting to continue a nonviolent protest while the security forces shot and beat them. Protestors estimate security forces arrested thousands of people, but the official statistics report 150 arrests. Additionally, security forces injured over 100 people who required medical attention. At 1:00 am on June 12, security forces drove armored tanks into the city for policing and security purposes.

The protest ended in the early morning of 12 June, and the government began to make more arrests. Chinese Central Television (CCTV), the official state channel stated there had been no beatings and the subsequent riots were due to the propagation of misinformation.

Following the event, the government stated no one had been injured on either side and barred further reporting throughout the region. Additionally, they warned that the state would put to death anyone they accused of advocating against the state.

This labor strike campaign only lasted two days and did not result in any changes to the Hukou system. However, the protest potentially influenced multiple labor strikes over the following decade. A database of these protests exists on the China Labour Bulletin Strike map.

Research Notes

Not Known

Anon. 2013. “Migrant Workers and Their Children.” China Labour Bulletin. October 08, Retrieved March 3, 2019 (

Eckert, Paul. 2011. “Thousands of Steelworkers Strike For Higher Pay in Central China.” RFA, February 2,Retrieved March 3, 2019 (

Foster, Peter. 2011. “Migrant Workers in China Attack Police in Third Day of Riots.” Telegraph, June 13, Retrieved March 3, 2019 (

Hung, Jason. 2011.. “Urban Paradise Actually Purgatory for China’s Migrant Workers, East Asia Forum, September 13” Retrieved March 3, 2019 (

Jiajia Li, Audrey. 2018. “Beijing’s Cruel Eviction of Its Migrant Workers Is a Stain on China’s Urbanisation Drive | South China Morning Post, July 20.” Retrieved March 3, 2019 (

Lau, Mimi. 2011. “Denim town finds uneasy peace; The riots that rocked Xintang have been contained, but the blue-stained fingers of migrant workers are still pointing accusingly at the private security squad.” South China Morning Post, June 15. Retrieved from NewsBank Retrieved March 3, 2019 (

McLaughlin, Kathleen. 2011. “Rich-Poor Gap Widens in Heart of China’s Factory Zone - Scores of Migrant Workers Have Vented Frustrations in Protests, Labor Strikes and Riots.” GlobalPost: Asia, June 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2019 (

Pansey, Gary and Sophia Fang. 2011. “Chinese Military Moves on Restive Guangzhou Suburb.” The Epoch Times, June 12. Retrieved March 3, 2019 (

Warner, Margaret. 2011. “Growing Dissent From Youth, Labor Unions Spark Rare Protests in China.” PBS NewsHour. Retrieved March 3, 2019 (

Additional Notes: 
This protest was near the start of several Labor protests which have continued to grow over the last decade in China
Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy: 
Khan B. Shairani 27/05/2019