Retired doctors, nurses, and health workers converged on Chengdu’s government offices today for the third time in a month. The first time I was able to walk down and talk to them, as there were but several dozen. This time there are about a 500-600 – about a dozen dressed in hospital whites – and they are hemmed in by about 200 police officers.
The pensioners are much more active this time around, chanting “same work, same pay,” singing “Socialism is Good,” and periodically charging the police lines to get to the government building’s main gate. As of right now, the police and the protesters are both seated and talking. The older women call them “young man” and explain that they are here to receive equal pay, and nothing more.
They are not calling for reform or freedom, just for enough money to meet the rising costs of living in Chengdu.
I feel that if I go down to speak with them, I would do more harm than good right now. But I will find a way to get more information later, when the police aren’t staring me down with adrenaline in their veins.