“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.