Beijing-Hankou Railway Workers Strike

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On February 7, 1923, workers of the Beijing-Hankou Railway started the sensational “February 7 Strike” after military police sabotaged a workers’ union ceremony.

The “Jinghan Railway”, starts at Beijing on the north and extends to Hankou in Hubei Province on the south and stretches 1,200 kilometres. By the end of 1922, 16 individual workers’ union had been established along the railway and the workers felt it was necessary to have a federation of unions. Therefore, the preparation commission of the Federation of Workers’ Union of Beijing-Hankou Railway decided to hold the establishment ceremony on February 1, 1923.

The workers’ intentions were interfered with by warlord Wu Peifu, who sent his military police to sabotage the hall where the ceremony was scheduled to take place. To protest against Wu’s actions, the Federation decided on a major strike on February 4, 1923 and relocated its office to Jiang’an, in the city of Hankou. On February 7, Wu Peifu sent his troops to besiege the Worker’s Union of Jiang’an and slaughter the unarmed workers and the pickets. Wu Peifu also had chief of Jiang’an Worker’s Union Lin Xiangqian arrested, and later on executed. Workers’ movements in Changxindian, Zhengzhou, Baoding and Gaobeidian were also quelled.

The February 7 Strike is another example of a major worker’s movement, following Hong Kong Sailors' Strike and Anyuan Railway Workers’ and Coal Miners’ Strike, under the leadership of Communist Party of China (CPC). It spread the CPC’s political influence in China and made the preparation for CPC’s coalition with other progressive forces in launching a nationwide revolution.

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