American executive held hostage in China factory over labor dispute

June 25, 2013 5:17:26 PM PDT
A tense labor standoff is taking place at an American-owned medical supply factory in China.

Chinese workers keeping an American executive confined to his Beijing medical supply factory said Tuesday that they had not been paid in two months.

The executive, Chip Starnes of Specialty Medical Supplies, denied the workers' allegations of two months of unpaid wages, as he endured a fifth day of captivity at the plant in the capital's northeastern suburbs.

About 100 workers are demanding back pay and severance packages. The demands followed rumors that the entire plant was being closed.

The dispute highlights general tensions in China's labor market as bosses worry about rising wages and workers are on edge about the impact of slowing growth on the future of their jobs.

These kinds of standoffs apparently aren't unusual in China, but they usually don't involve American bosses.