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Monday, January 18, 1999 Published at 08:51 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Angry workers block bridge in central China

Elsewhere in China's Hunan province, reports say several hundred textile workers blocked a bridge to demonstrate against unpaid wages.

The protest, near the city of Changde, led to a queue of a thousand vehicles, according to a Hong Kong based human rights organisation the Information Centre of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China.

The workers demanded three months' wages they say were owed after having been forced to take leave on low pay.

The state-owned textile factory is said to have laid off almost one third of its workforce in recent cutbacks.

The protest came as official figures were given yesterday showing that sixteen million Chinese would be unable to find jobs this year because the labour market was flooded with laid-off workers, new graduates and demobilised soldiers.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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