Image: Migrant workers walk inside an unfinished building at the construction site of Zixia Garden development complex in Qianan, Tangshan City

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Chinese Workers Demand Unpaid Wages, Skip New Year Celebrations

Some Chinese workers did not go home for lunar new year celebrations this year because they haven't got their paychecks.

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Image: Migrant workers pass time at the offices of a subcontractor company at the construction site of Zixia Garden development complex in Qianan, Tangshan City

This year, about 20 construction workers in China decided not to head home to celebrate lunar new year with their families. They worked on the construction of Zixia Garden apartment complex in Qianan, Tangshan City, Hebei Province, but hadn't received their paychecks.

Above, migrant workers kill time at the office of a subcontractor company at the construction site of Zixia Garden development complex in Qian'an, Tangshan City on Jan. 28, 2016.  

 

Damir Sagolj / Reuters
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Image: A man is seen from inside the offices of a subcontractor company as he walks through the construction site of Zixia Garden development complex in Qianan, Tangshan City

Some 530 workers for the Zixia Garden apartment complex building project did not get their paychecks, which range from 20,000 to 50,000 yuan ($3,000-$7,500), according to Reuters.

 

Above, a man walks through the construction site of Zixia Garden development complex on Jan. 28.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters
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Image: Migrant workers display banners at the construction site of Zixia Garden development complex in Qianan, Tangshan City

Migrant workers in China are supposed to bring their savings of the previous year back home during the lunar new year, or Spring Festival. These unpaid workers are too proud to go back to families with empty hands.

 

Above, migrant workers display a banner at the Zixia Garden development complex construction site on Jan. 28. The banner, which workers claim authorities told them not to use in their protests any more, reads "Hubei sixth construction company, give me my blood sweat money."  

 

Damir Sagolj / Reuters
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Image: Migrant workers walk inside an unfinished building at the construction site of Zixia Garden development complex in Qianan, Tangshan City

Two workers walk inside an unfinished building at the construction site of the Zixia Garden development complex.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters
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Image: A migrant worker shows a banner inside a building that is under construction as a part of Zixia Garden development complex in Qianan, Tangshan City

A migrant worker holds a banner inside a Zixia Garden building that reads "Pay back the money that you owe."  

Damir Sagolj / Reuters
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Image: Migrant workers eat breakfast and smoke after waking up at the offices of a subcontractor company at the construction site of Zixia Garden development complex in Qianan, Tangshan City

The workers told Reuters reporters that the local government had offered each non-local laborer 2,000 yuan ($304) in cash if they left for the holidays, but some refused to go.

 

Above, the workers eat breakfast and smoke after waking up at an office of a subcontractor company at Zixia Garden construction site. They were allowed to stay here because water and electricity had been cut off at the dorm where they used to live.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters
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Image: Possessions of a migrant worker are seen at his accommodation at the construction site of Zixia Garden development complex in Qianan, Tangshan City

These workers have few possessions. Above, some of their belongings sit on a table in the office where they are currently staying.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters
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Image: A migrant worker wakes up at the offices of a subcontractor company at the construction site of Zixia Garden development complex in Qianan, Tangshan City

A migrant worker sleeps on the floor inside the office at the Zixia Garden construction site.  

The Chinese government is concerned that protests over issues like unpaid wages could grow into larger-scale social unrests, eventually spilling over into broader dissatisfaction at its rule. Beijing has been working constantly to contain events like this, under the name of "maintaining social stability." 

Damir Sagolj / Reuters
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Image: The construction site of Zixia Garden development complex is seen from inside an unfinished building in Qianan, Tangshan City

With China's economy growing at its slowest in 25 years, more workers face a similar predicament and labor unrest is on the rise.

 

Damir Sagolj / Reuters
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