June 17, 2011 9:35 p.m. EDT
The authorities here are obviously nervous. My crew and I are sitting in a local government building being questioned by six propaganda officials.
One of them is scribbling down our credentials in a worn pocket-sized notebook. My producer, Steven Jiang, is talking non-stop to one officer who looks especially nonplussed.
We traveled to the manufacturing town of Xintang to investigate why thousands of migrant workers suddenly took to the streets just a week ago.
We knew the unrest was triggered by what appeared to be a minor event — a pregnant migrant worker and her husband got in a scuffle with city officials and she ended up falling on the ground.
However, the ferocity by which this dispute exploded in a massive conflagration, pitting thousands of enraged workers against hundreds of riot police, took many by surprise.
Unrest in Chinese ‘jeans capital’
The unrest seems to belie the image of China as a bustling economy going from strength to strength, enriching the lives of millions across the country, especially in the industrial south. But the problem is many people feel they are not getting their fair share of the rapid growth.
Since we arrived, the streets look relatively calm here. People are out shopping. Cars are on the roads.
However, the frustrations the workers feel is palpable.
We visited a job center and, for the first time since I started reporting in China years ago, workers approached us unfazed by our cameras. They were unafraid to vent their grievances to foreign TV journalists even as the police looked on.
The workers complained of the lack of jobs, unscrupulous bosses hoarding back pay, and corrupt local officials.
In China, with its one-party government, getting people to speak openly about the authorities is challenging and extremely rare, especially with the cameras rolling. It struck me these workers must feel no one else is listening.
Economic uncertainty is the root cause of China’s wave of discontent. However, unlike in the Middle East, people here are not calling for a new government. What they want is a way to right wrongs and not to be forgotten.
We had been filming for several hours before the propaganda officials stopped us at a jeans factory to take us in for questioning. They told us Xintang had just been declared a special zone requiring additional permissions above and beyond our press credentials to report here.
We apply for new permits but, not surprisingly, they aren’t granted and we are told we have to leave.
We need more video footage of the town so we negotiate a few more minutes of filming — but we have to be escorted and are asked not to film the increasing security presence
Migrant workers had told us more police patrol the town at night. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see that for ourselves.
Eunice Yoon is CNN’s Beijing-based Correspondent, responsible for the network’s news coverage of China alongside Senior International Correspondent Stan Grant and Beijing Bureau Chief Jaime FlorCruz.
Yoon’s role in Beijing allows her to document the world’s most populous nation as it continues to grow in influence across the global economic and geopolitical landscape. From domestic policy to foreign affairs, technology to tradition, she reveals the remarkable dynamics and human stories driving more than 1.3 billion people.
She brings extensive, award-winning experience working in China and across Asia to CNN’s Beijing bureau. She was formerly the network’s Asia Business Editor based in Hong Kong where she focused particularly on the rapid economic development of the region and the impact of the global financial crisis. From the world of politics she has interviewed leaders including former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, while business leaders include International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.
In addition, Yoon has worked extensively as a correspondent and reported from across Asia on major news events. Most notably, she was one of the first journalists to reach the Sichuan earthquake zone, undertaking perilous journeys to describe the efforts to rescue survivors.
She also reported on the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, Typhoon Parma as it battered the northern coast of the Philippines, and from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea to investigate the livelihood of villagers and soldiers in one of the most heavily guarded places on earth. Her reports for CNN’s coverage of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami ensured she was part of the team who won a prestigious DuPont Award.
Yoon has anchored and reported for several news organizations, including CNBC, Voice of America, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and YTN of South Korea. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in political science from Brown University in Rhode Island and graduated magna cum laude.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
535935 7665 54
her path of destiny / how she learns what she is here to learn = 54 = Listening. Observer. Witness. Video footage. Videotape. Documenting. Documentary. Documents. Interview. Asking questions. Questioning. Interrogation.