Chinese truck drivers protest rising fuel costs

A driver fills his car at a PetroChina gas station.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Chinese police arrested and broke up hundreds of protesters today in Shanghai. The demonstrators were truck drivers angry over high gas prices and the rising cost of doing business there.

Marketplace's China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz reports, the unrest is about high inflation and why truck drivers are the ones feeling the pinch.


ROB SCHMITZ: The protests are just the latest sign of the rapidly rising cost of pretty much everything in China.

And Geoffrey Crothall, with the China Labor Bulletin, says he isn't surprised that its truck drivers who are one the first major groups to go on the offensive.

GEOFFREY CROTHALL: It's always the lowest paid workers, factory workers, people in the service sector, and truck drivers as well, who are going to feel the affects of inflation first.

Crothall says the Chinese government is worried, too.

CROTHALL: And they're trying very hard to try to improve the situation for workers by increasing the minimum wage.

Not only that, but this week, the government announced it would stop collecting income taxes from people who make less than $500 a month -- a possible sign that the government is nervous about inflation's impact on China's overall stability.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.

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