Police beat strikers during Xi Jinping's Guangdong tour
Protesters beaten by police and expressway blocked in Shenzhen district
New Communist Party chief Xi Jinping continued his low-profile tour of southern China yesterday with a trip to Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, after stopping over in Zhuhai and Foshan.
The vice-president's first stop in Shenzhen coincided with a strike by about 3,000 workers at a printing factory on Friday evening, witnesses told the South China Morning Post yesterday.
Workers started to gather outside the Huacai Printing and Packaging Plant in Baoan district at about 6pm, blocking a section of an expressway, but the party general secretary's visit was not affected.
The strike lasted more than eight hours, causing a severe traffic jam in the area, before the crowds were dispersed by a large number of armed policemen.
"Several workers were taken away and beaten by the cops," said Zhou Shiyi, a sales manager of another printing factory nearby Huacai.
Pictures of the strike were circulated on mainland social media websites.
Xi made a short visit to the Hengqin new zone in Zhuhai on Saturday evening, where he was briefed about the area's development plan.
The experimental area on an island in Zhuhai, close to Macau, was the second of three Guangdong-HK co-operative zones Xi visited during his tour, after Qianhai in Shenzhen. There was speculation he would also visit Nansha new zone during his stay in Guangzhou.
Yesterday morning, Xi visited Huanglong village, in Beijiao township in Foshan. He had a 20-minute chat with villagers. He also gave books, food and quilts to a low-income family, sources said.
He then toured an industrial design park in the Shunde district of Foshan before heading to Guangzhou in the afternoon.
Xi did not show up at the Donghaochong canal - a showpiece of Guangzhou's green programme - as expected. The canal was cleaned up under an urban regeneration project which turned heavily polluted areas into a neighbourhood park in 2010.