china-ch.jpg  A Rural Primary School in China Teachers in the Pei County district of China went on strike against low salaries last month The teachers can be paid as little as $130 a month which it is not possible to live on - especially as prices are skyrocketing. What is more many teachers are waiting months for back pay which is owed to them. The problem of low salaries is compounded by the fact that teachers in cities earn up to twice as much as those in rural areas As a  result of the strike some teachers have been dismissed and others beaten up by police. Students supported their teachers by throwing books, newspapers and exam papers - as a result of this police came to arrest students - resulting in a standoff between students and police. As well as the protests in Pei county, teachers in Hubei province have lobbied the government about the treatment of contract teachers - who are not on proper civil service contracts and can earn half of what their colleagues earn - indeed they are sometimes not paid at all for months. The government issued a decree in 1997 urging local authorities to give all teachers a civil service contract but many local authorities use contract teachers to keep down costs. This is a pattern that is repeated in many parts of the world but particularly in sub-saharan Africa (see previous posts)