Another Jasic Struggle confession footage emerges: Ideological struggle drawing a veil over class warfare
On 2019 March 2nd, another round of Jasic Struggle confession footage appeared online. However, the content diverged significantly from the past emphasis on “foreign forces ” ulterior motives.
On March 2nd, the official website of the Jasic Workers Solidarity group published an article revealing that a number of students from different institutions had been interviewed by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau; during the interviews, they had to watch a confession video related to the Jasic Struggle and the video content was released in text format. The subjects of the footage are no longer the members of the Jasic Workers Solidarity Group such as Shen Mengyu and Yue Xin, but the founders of a social service organisation in Shenzhen named Qing Ying Dreamworks Social Worker Center — He Pengchao and Wang Xiangyi, staff Hou Changshan, supporter Zheng Shiyou, Peking University graduate Zong Yang, and Beijing Language and Culture University graduate Zheng Yiran.
The footage opened with a self-narrative from He Pengchao. He claimed that he participated in a seminar organised by the mainland Maoist website Utopia (Wu You Zhi Xiang) in 2007, and came into the realisation of the “facts” of the Cultural Revolution. He then joined the Peking University Marxist Society in 2011 and began to think that violent struggle is the only way to re-establish a socialist country. He later joined the “revolutionary organisation”, Fenghua Company, and became a professional revolutionary. He was indoctrinated by the slogan of “serving the proletariat” and ignored the contributions of the Communist Party to the state and acted to jeopardize the interests of workers and the state. He also alleged that the members from the Marxist Reading Club who were arrested in 2018 were, in fact, plotting to incite subversion against the state. On another note, Zheng Shiyou admitted that he joined the Chinese Maoist Communist Party. Zong Yang, who also joined as a member, believed that only violent struggle could restore the country’s pathway to socialism.
The second part of the video featured mainly 3 persons: Zheng Shiyou, He Pengchao and Wang Xiangyi. They admitted to having infiltrated the Jasic Technology for the purpose of unionisation. In 2016, they arranged staff, including Mi Jiuping and Liu Penghua, to become workers in Jasic Technology, working toward establishing a trade union. Qing Ying Dreamworks Social Worker Center was the supporter of the scheme. They also arranged for Zou Liping to work in the local trade union and assist them to found the union when the time is ripe. They “falsely accused” that the public security officials assaulted them during the Jasic Struggle, in order to launch the operation inside the factory and applying public pressure by appealing to the public. Zong Yang confessed that in the summer of 2018, he brought students to work in the South and participated in the online publicity campaign to “whiten” the Jasic Struggle. After the crackdown of the protesters on August 24th, facing with suspension orders from the school, the detention of Yue Hao and Gu Jiayue and the rectification attacks towards their leftist network across universities, they organised numerous protests inside the school.
The third and fourth part of the footage were the confessions of He Pengchao, Hou Changshan, Zong Yang and Zheng Yiran about how they tricked the freshmen of the university into believing in their ideals, and self-reflections of He Pengchao, Wang Xiangyi, Zong Yang and Zheng Yiran respectively. In his confession, He Pengchao admitted to arrange the students to work in “black factory” (factory practising unethical production), to create a “delusion” of the current Chinese society so as to prompt the students to recognise the importance of re-establishing Maoism. He also instilled the belief into the students that “learning is an act of self-interest” and encouraged them to abandon their studies. He imposed “ideological education” on the students, causing rifts between the students and their families and partners. At the end of the footage, He Pengchao, Wang Xiangyi, Zong Yang and Zheng Yiran expressed their regrets for their actions against the interests of workers, the state, and the students.
During the period of Jasic Struggle, the Chinese government published a statement through the Xinhua News Agency website, accusing that the protests were instigated by a foreign organisation and therefore arrested Fu Changuo who was a bystander in the protests and posted the news online. However, from the confessional video released by the Jasic Workers Solidarity group, it is obvious that the Chinese government has shifted its stand from emphasizing the foreign influences to battling against the resurrection of Maoism ideology. The video repeatedly emphasised that they wanted to promote “armed revolution”, portrayed the young activists and labour rights organisation as villains and labelled them as a dangerous group of mobs.
However, all of these is only to conceal the difficulties faced by workers in the Mainland and jumble them together with ideological differences. With the slowdown of the Chinese economy and its transformation in recent years, the lives of Mainland workers have become very difficult. On top of the ignorance of the ACFTU to the workers’ demands, workers decided to act to protect their own rights and interests. These led to many incidents of labour struggles. Besides, it is a common practice in overseas to send workers to work in a factory so to lay the foundation for the organisation of a trade union. It is an embodiment of workers’ rights to organise and associate. In fact, even if Mi Jiuping and Liu Penghua really worked in Jasic Technology with a motive to form a trade union, they complied with the “Trade Union Law” by seeking approval from the superior union before the commencement. The incident was triggered by the reversal of the decision of the Pingshan District trade unions federation.
The Chinese Government tried to use underhand tactics to divert attention from the lack of workers’ rights and freedom of association in China. The authority must immediately stop the suppression of workers and the student activists in the Jasic Struggle, release all arrested persons, improve the “Trade Union Law” and realise the right to unionise and the freedom of association of workers.