China tells workers to use courts, not streets: public sentencing of unpaid construction workers involved in labor protests

A court in Sichuan conducted a public sentencing of eight construction workers who were convicted of disturbing social order after staging a protest over their unpaid wages.  Chun Han Wong provides excellent coverage of the story for the WSJ here.  The implicit -- and even explicit -- message of the local government was that workers should be pursuing redress for labor law violations through the courts, not protests or collective action.  Banners at the public sentencing urged "rational efforts in seeking unpaid wages" and denounced the disturbance of social order.  It seems the purpose of doing the sentencing publicly, with local media on hand, must be to send an intimidating message to other workers and labor activists.