Hundreds of workers at a Shenzhen mobile phone assembly plant rallied in front of a local government building on Tuesday over unpaid wages, after their factory went out of business, according to pictures posted on social media platform Weibo.

Workers gathered in front of local government building after their factory closed down. Photo: Weibo.

The Shenzhen Zhongtian Xin Electronics factory officially closed its doors on Christmas Day, leaving over 2,000 workers unemployed. The company was a contractor of the Beijing-based Smartisan Technology, a Chinese smartphone developer. Zhongtian Xin also made mobile devices for ZTE, Huawei, Samsung and Coolpad, according to the company’s website.

In a statement to workers released on Christmas Day, Zhongtian Xin said the local government had approved its closure and arranged for labour officials to deal with workers’ severance packages.

Workers rallying over unpaid wages in Shenzhen. Photo: Weibo.

According to Innovative Finance Observation, a Tianjin-based financial media outlet, Zhongtian Xin has been delaying salary payments since 2014. Earlier this month the company issued a statement rejecting media reports that its owner had disappeared.

An employee who took part in Tuesday’s demonstration called on the media to pay attention to the workers’ plight.

“As of today, December 29, [we] have not yet received the wages owed to us. The Chinese New Year is approaching, over 2,000 people are waiting for their wages so they can go home for the new year. Hope the government will help us get our hard-earned salaries as soon as possible! And we hope the media can offer a platform for our call!”

Police and workers face off in front of a government building. Photo: Weibo.

The Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province, China’s manufacturing powerhouse, has seen a wave of factory closures in the past two years amid a slowing economy. The National Business Daily estimated that at least 76 enterprises closed their doors in the area in the first 11 months this year, and according to the website of Global Times, mobile phone contractors have been among the worst hit by the slowdown.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.