The Hong Kong Civil Society Marches On in Support of the JASIC Workers
The Hong Kong civil society continue to support the Jasic workers and their supporters, despite the bulk of the supporters groups were arrested and detained by the Chinese Government. Some 30 representatives of the Hong Kong civil society including workers and students marched on to the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, yet again, for the second time within a month to support the Jasic labour struggle in light of the latest wave of arrests targeted, this time, on the Jasic Workers Solidarity Support Group, who were mainly made up of students. The protestors demanded the immediate release of all workers and students who were arrested, detained, and disappeared due to the Jasic labour struggle, and the rights to freedom of association for the workers. The group released the following statement which was co-signed by more than 30 civil society organizations:
Stop the Suppression!
Release All Arrested Jasic Workers and Their Supporters Now!
Although the workers’ struggle to form a trade union in the Shenzhen Jasic Technology Co. Ltd. has persisted for more than one month, there are still no signs of resolving. Not only the workers’ demand to form a union of their own choosing within the legal framework have yet to be realized, their struggle is met with suppression from the State. Thus far, a total of 14 workers and more than 50 members of the Jasic Workers Solidarity Support Group have been arrested and are still under criminally detention. We would like to express our extreme resentment.
In the small hours of August 24, the police deployed a number of riot police to raid the residence of the Support Group in Huizhou, forcibly arrested more than 50 workers and students. Undeterred by the mass arrests on July 27, workers and students who support the struggling Jasic workers established the Jasic Workers Solidarity Support to demand for the rights to form union and the release of the arrested workers. Since then, university students from across the nation have joined together and arrived at Shenzhen to show their support in the form of speeches, cultural performances, and demonstrations. However, before the detained worker are set free, members of the Support Group are now also put behind bars.
Among the arrestees from the August 24 raid are LAN Zhi Wei, YU Kai Long, YU Wei Ye (three workers released on bail from the earlier mass arrest), YUE Xin (fresh graduate of the Peking University), ZHAN Zhen Zhen (the founder of the Campus Workers Investigation Project of the Peking University), FENG Ge (Ex-President of the Anti-poverty Association of the Peking University), and also other students from the Renmin University of China, Nanjing University who initiated the petition supporting Jasic workers. Together with Shen Mengyu and others who had been taken away since August 11, closed to 70 people are now either detained or placed under house arrest. The latest wave of suppression is the largest suppression on labour activists since the "1203 Incident" in 2015.
These workers organized themselves together because of the company's illegal penal system, insufficient contribution of housing provident fund and other illegal labour misconducts. Initially, the Pingshan District Federation of Trade Unions recommended that they should organize their own trade unions. Thus, the workers applied for the establishment of a trade union and started to recruit members and subsequently collected consents from nearly 90 workers to form a trade union. However, the six workers’ leaders, including Mi Jiuping and Liu Penghua, were later dismissed by the company and are now detained by the police on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” for more than a month.
The All-China Federation of Trade Unions have claimed to promote trade union reform since 2015, but before any meaningful result materializes, we have witnessed workers’ rights to freedom of association are yet again, being let down by the ACFTU. The Jasic workers who applied for the establishment of a trade union under the law were eventually beaten, dismissed, arrested, imprisoned, and the students who supported them were also not spared from suppression. Here, we would like to pay tribute to the Jasic workers and their supporters who choose to fight for labour rights until the end. And despite members of the Support Groups are now arrested, we vow to carry on with the fight and continue to support the Jasic workers.
Therefore, we demand:
1. The Chinese Government to immediately release the workers and supporters of the Jasic Workers Struggle and drop all charges against them;
2. The ACFTU to immediately stop all efforts to suppress workers’ right to freedom of association;
3. The Jasic management to reinstate all the dismissed workers and recognize the labour organization formed by the workers.
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
League of Social Democrats
Hong Kong Teaching and Research Support Staff Union
Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior
Labour Education & Service Network
Justice & Peace Commission of the H.K. Catholic Diocese
Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China
China Labour Bulletin
Hong Kong Christian Institute
New School of Democracy
Friends of Conscience
Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body
The Filipino Migrant Workers' Union
Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions
Union of Nepalese Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
Overseas Domestic Workers Union in Hong Kong
Progressive Labour Union of Domestic Workers in Hong Kong
Thai Migrant Workers Union
Student Christian Movement of Hong Kong
Chu Hoi Dick New Territories West Team
Christians for Hong Kong Society
Christians to the World
Asian Transnational Corporations Monitoring Network
Social and Political Organization Workers’ Union