Thirty Taxi Drivers Attempt Suicide

Published on Author crastoa16

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“A group of taxi drivers in China were found unconscious and frothing from the mouth outside a shopping center after they tried to poison themselves by drinking from bottles of chemicals as part of a mass anti-government protest.” This public demonstration took place outside of the busy Wangfujing shopping center. While none of the taxi drivers died as a result of consuming the chemicals, they were all taken to the nearby hospital to be checked out. This protest occurred because of a “four -year- old reform affecting taxi company leasing renewals…labor and environmental disputes with government authorities are common in China and have occasionally involved self-harm or suicide, sometimes involving drinking chemicals.” These men had previously tried to change the regulations through the proper channels. They contacted the state bureau and the ministry of transport, but their complaint did nothing in the way of change.

It is clear that many of the current regulations in China are oppressive. For suicides and public demonstrations of this caliber to occur somewhat regularly, there have to be deep-set issues. Something just like this had occurred last July. In that instance, seven people protested by attempting suicide outside of a newspaper office. The interesting thing about these public protests is that the people involved are not city residents. They are from rural provinces that travel into the cities to make their demonstration more public than it would be back in the countryside. The taxi drivers had all come from the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang which borders Russia. They all took a long train ride from their small, home city to the much more populous Beijing in order to make their complaints heard. The protesters form the July incident had also come from a rural province and they had traveled to Beijing because they were angry with the compensation they were paid after local authorities seized their land.




2 Responses to Thirty Taxi Drivers Attempt Suicide

  1. None died suggests they were hopeful they’d make an impact, but not too much of one … no point in winning if you’re not around to collect your prize. Nevertheless, it’s a very high-risk strategy, because things can go fatally wrong.

    China continues to struggle with a system of rules and an administrative structure that lacks the resources to make them effective. Some is ideology: China has a tradition of rule by personal authority, not by law, so there’s tension in emphasizing rules. Some is practical, a lack of personnel and enforcement tools (for example pollution). Some is corruption. But this post is good in point out this is not an isolated case, even if the form used is unusual enough to make news headlines.

  2. There seems to be a disconnect between these taxi drivers and local authorities, but I am a little perplexed on how two small groups of demonstrators, in a city of about 11 billion people, believe that such an act would be effective for a government responsible of 1.3 billion people. Moreover, I seem to remember a story about crying wolf…