China shocked by fatal riot in Madagascar

BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese Embassy in Madagascar on Sunday expressed shock at a deadly riot at a Chinese-run sugar plant and criticized the island nation's government for failing to protect Chinese interests.

The statement came four days after local workers looted the sugar plant in Morondava and clashed with Madagascar security forces, leaving two people dead.

The embassy said the Chinese staff evacuated the factory because of fears for their safety.

According to the embassy, the workers have been causing trouble after their "unreasonable demands" were turned down. The statement does not say what the demands were.

Starting in early November, the disgruntled workers began to block the factory, cutting off utilities, harassing employees and sabotaging equipment, the embassy said. They attacked the plant on Nov. 26, and clashed with security forces on Wednesday after their leaders were detained.

The official China News Service said Madagascar military forces killed two people after they opened fire on the rioters, who were armed with axes, slingshots and rocks. It said some seasonal workers at the sugar plant had hoped for full-time contracts.

Chinese Ambassador Yang Min has lodged formal complaints with the Madagascar foreign ministry, urging the government to take "effective measures to stop the violence."

"We hope the Madagascar government would take necessary measures to properly handle the attack at the Morondava sugar plant and to erase the ill impact this incident has brought to the country's international image and its ability to attract foreign investments so as to create a good environment for Madagascar to cooperate with China and other countries," the statement said.

China is Africa's largest trading partner, but closer ties have resulted in sometimes violent labor disputes.

An October report by the official Xinhua News Agency said the Chinese sugar plant SUCOMA had created 10,000 jobs in the island nation.

Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.