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China favors strikers in rare ruling: report

BEIJING -- A Chinese committee has ruled against an employer who fired 40 workers for going on strike, state-media said Wednesday, highlighting rising labor activism in the world's second largest economy.

A manufacturer in the eastern Chinese province of Fujian sacked 40 workers in March for going on strike the previous month, the state run Global Times daily said.

China's ruling Communist Party is wary of an independent labor movement, so only allows one government-linked trade union, which in the past has acted to prevent workers from striking.

But analysts say that in recent years workers have become more empowered as labor shortages turn bargaining power in their favor — though strikers still risk police detention.

A government labor panel ruled that the dismissals in Fujian were illegal, said the report, citing Chinese media outlet Caixin. It added that the employer would appeal.

It quoted China Institute of Industrial Relations scholar Wang Jiangsong as saying that the ruling “will give other workers and their lawyers confidence as they can view it as a guideline when handling labor dispute cases.”

In a separate matter, prosecutors on Monday withdrew a case against factory worker Wu Guijun who was detained for more than a year over a protest in southern Guangdong province, the China Labor Bulletin reported.

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