Ongoing detention leads to global unions' campaign against Chinese Government. Hong Kong labour organisations protested at the Liaison Office of Central People's Government

 

In July 2018, workers of Shenzhen Jasic Technology demanded to organize their own union. However, it ended with their supporters being detained in late August and became the kick off of another wave of crackdown on labour movement in China. Many labour activists, student activists and officials of civil society organisations have been detained, including those who were not involved in the Jasic strike. On 26 March 2019, the HKCTU and many other labour organizations, marched from the Western District Police Station to the Liaison Office of Central People's Government of China, to demand the immediate release of all detained labour activists.

Since 24 August 2018, police raided the accomodation of the Jasic Workers Support Group, the government continuously detained labour and student activists related to the Jasic strike. As on 26 March 2019, more than 40 workers, students, activists, staff members of civil society and labour organizations have been detained, some more than half year. They are deprived of the right to see their lawyers, their families and the public are deeply concerned about their whereabouts and conditions.

 

The crackdown started with the Jasic strike, but it does not stop there. On 8 January 2019, Yang Zhengjun, chief editor of an online media platform “New Generation”, which has been reporting the Hunan silicosis workers' struggle for their rights, was taken away by the police officers from Guangzhou. On 20 January, five labour activists working in Shenzhen area, namely Zhang Zhiru, Song Jiahui, Wu Guijun, Jian Hui and He Yuancheng were arrested in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Changsha respectively. The authority finally confirmed their detentions in late February and charged them with “gathering a crowd to disturb social order”. On 20 March, another editor of “New Generation”, Wei Zhili was arrested by police officers from Shenzhen on his way to visit his parents in Guangzhou. The police also searched his parents' flat. On the same day, another editor Ke Chengbing also went missing and is believed to be criminally detained by the authority.

Thus, some 20 representatives from HKCTU and other labour organizations marched from the Western District Police Station to the Liaison Office of Central People's Government at 11 am, on 26 March, to demand the immediate release of labour activists. Leung Kwok-hung of League of Social Democrats at a speech pointed out, the original Chinese Constitution was to protect labour rights and freedom, but the Chinese Community Party ruled them out. In 1982, the Government's constitutional amendment intentionally removed workers' rights to organize and strike, although it still calls itself a socialist state. Chung Chung-fai, vice-chairperson of HKCTU read the statement aloud, calling the Chinese Government to release all detained labour activists, withdraw charges against them, halt repression against them and revise its legislation to be in line with international standard and international labour conventions, especially regarding freedom of association. The protesters glued their statement and placards at the gate of the Liaison Office after the protest.   

Korean Council of Trade Unions also supported HKCTU's action and launched a protest at the Chinese Embassy in Korea on the same day, urging the Chinese Government to release the detained labour activists.

The ongoing repression is already beyond a single labour dispute like Jasic case, but a full declaration of war against labour movement. The Chinese Government must realize that repression could not stop workers' resistance. The only solution lies in facing the problems with the workers, promoting employment conditions and respecting labour rights.