Chinese migrant workers leave their factory construction site for a lunchbreak in Beijing on March 16, 2012. The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on around 1,000 migrant workers going on a rampage after the death of a worker at the hands of his employer on May 29, 2012.
Credit: MARK RALSTON

Around 1,000 migrant workers protested in eastern China on Tuesday, after the death of a worker at the hands of his employer, according to Reuters.

Citing the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, Reuters said the workers smashed cars and protested in front of a government building in Ruian, near Wenzhou, in the province of Zhejiang.

Xinhua's report said, "Around 1,000 migrant workers rushed the government office building, turning over an iron fence gate, and damaging over a dozen cars with stones and bricks."

The report continued, "Local government sources said the protest was sparked by the death of 19-year-old migrant worker Yang Zhi, allegedly killed by his employer Xu Qiyin during a dispute over salary."

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Radio Free Asia reported that police fired tear gas into the protesting crowds of unpaid workers, according to local witnesses.

An eyewitness to the original incident, named Chen, said, "A manager from the factory was fighting with a worker protesting unpaid wages; the two of them were grappling together."

He continued, "The manager beat him with an iron bar, but he didn't hit him around the head ... his head was smashed against the ground as the pair of them hit the ground."

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Chen estimated that the rioters numbered 1,000 and the riot police numbered 100.

The protest reportedly ended before midday, when the family of the dead worker was given 300,000 yuan ($47,300) in compensation, according to Reuters.

According to a survey carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics, the main need of migrant workers, at 27.6 percent, was to make more money, reported China Daily.

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