Beijing, China - Peoples Republic of
CHINESE SCHOOL GIRLS WALK PAST WORKERS IN BEIJING.
Chinese school girls walk past workers during a springtime outing in Beijing April 28. Chinese workers were given a seven-day holiday this year to celebrate International Labour Day on May 1, though many welcomed the gift with cynicism. Official statistics show the number of labour disputes in China has skyrocketed to more than 120,000 in 1999, as workers complained of late or no pay, layoffs and corruption. Chinese labour conditions have been the subject of increased international scrutiny in advance of a vote in the U.S. Congress on granting China permanent normal trade relations, a major stepping stone to its accession to the World Trade Organization.