Dopo il successo delle banche cinesi arrivano le proteste dei colletti bianchi

Questi sono giorni esaltanti per le banche controllate dallo stato cinese. Il mese scorso, la Banca agricola della Cina ha fatto il suo debutto in borsa, portando la più grande offerta pubblica di sempre. Una banca sorella gestita dal governo, la Banca industriale e commerciale della Cina, ha la borsa con il più alto valore rispetto le altre banche del mondo. Ma i colpi di fortuna hanno creato un problema insolito per la Cina: l’agitazione dei colletti bianchi.

Segue articolo in inglese:

But the windfalls have created an unusual problem for China: white-collar unrest. A few days after the Agricultural Bank went public, dozens of former bank employees stealthily gathered outside the headquarters of the country’s central bank. There, after distributing small Chinese flags, they quickly pulled on red and blue T-shirts that read, “Protect the Rights of Downsized Bank Workers.” By the time they had unfurled their protest banners, the game was over. Within minutes, a flock of police officers had swept everyone into five waiting public buses. By 8 a.m., when the People’s Bank of China opened its doors for business, the only sign of the rally was a strand of police tape. During the past two years, these unlikely agitators — conservatively attired but fiercely determined — have staged similar public protests in Beijing and provincial cities. They have stormed branch offices to mount sit-ins. A few of the more foolhardy have met at Tiananmen Square to distribute fliers before plainclothes police officers snatched them away. Strategizing via online message boards and text messages, they speak in code and frequently change cellphone numbers. Their acts of defiance are never mentioned in state-run news media. According to one organizer, a scrappy former bank teller named Wu Lijuan, there are at least 70,000 people seeking to regain their old jobs or receive monetary compensation, a sizable wedge of the 400,000 who were laid off during a decade-long purge. Like many other state-owned companies, the banks slashed payrolls and restructured to raise profitability and make themselves more attractive to outside investors. “They tossed us out like garbage,” Ms. Wu, 44, said before a recent protest, scanning fellow restaurant patrons for potential eavesdroppers. “All we’re asking for is justice and maybe to serve as a model for others who have been wronged.” For a government determined to maintain social harmony, the protests and petitioning are vexing. Compared with farmers angry over seized land or retired soldiers seeking fatter pensions, the bank workers — educated, organized and knowledgeable about the Internet — are better equipped to outsmart the public security agents constantly on their trail. “What the government fears most are people capable of organizing, and the bank workers have discovered their power,” said Renee Xia, international director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders. “The sad thing is that they’re not going to succeed because the more organized you are, the more harsh the government’s reaction.” Protest organizers are often thrown in “black jails” — extrajudicial holding pens — where they are sometimes beaten before local police officers arrive to take them back home. The recalcitrant and unrepentant sometimes end up in labor camps, where they can spend up to three years without being prosecuted for a crime. The years of fruitless protest and economic hardship have taken a toll. According to an informal tally by protest leaders, dozens of former bank staff members — most of them unsuccessful at finding new jobs — have committed suicide. “To be middle-aged and live off your elderly parents is humiliating, and it can become unbearable,” said Huang Gaoying, 49, a teller who was dismissed from the Industrial and Commercial Bank known as I.C.B.C., in 2002. Even if their numbers are smaller, the former bank employees are not unlike the millions of factory workers shed during the effort to restructure inefficient state-owned enterprises in the late 1990s. In the years that followed, they, too, clamored for redress but were eventually silenced. In 2000, the Supreme People’s Court put an end to any hope that the legal system might adjudicate such disputes, saying that plaintiffs from state companies had no standing in Chinese courts. Like the laid-off factory workers, the former bank employees have no independent trade union or association to take up their cause.

Fonte: The New York Times, 18 agosto 2010

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