Global solidarity to demand the immediate release of Chinese labour activists
Since the Jasic Workers’ Struggle last August, Chinese Government has launched a series of crackdown against the labour movement in China. Numerous labour organizers, activists, civil society workers, supporters to the student and labour movement have been detained and charged with different offences. Thus, together with Globalization Monitor, the HKCTU launched a global online petition at LabourStart’s website. Between 25 and 31 March 2019, it also carried out a global action week, lobbied labour organizations and trade unions around the world to protest at their local Chinese embassies, or write to the Chinese Prime Minister, to demand the immediate release of all Chinese labour activists.
In Porto, Portugal, Dockers’ Unions started their action ahead. On 21 March, about 30 dockers launched a protest to demand the Chinese Government to release labour activists. They took pictures of the protest to show their support to the labour activists in China.
On 26 March, some 20 members from HKCTU, League of Social Democrats and other labour organizations in Hong Kong marched from the Western District Police Station to the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government. The protestors pointed out that although Chinese Government calls itself a socialist state, it betrays the leftist ideology entirely. In reality, the Chinese Government adopts repression, dictatorship and collusion with the capitalists to combat and eliminate labour movement and independent unionism in China. Therefore this protest was not only meant to call for the release of labour activists, but also to demand the Chinese Government to amend its Trade Union Law and other related legislations, to ensure they are in line with international labour standards, especially in regard to freedom of association, rights to organize and strike.
On the same day, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) also took action. 15 members gathered in front of the Chinese embassy in Seoul. KCTU condemned the Chinese Government’s blunt violation of freedom of association and right to organize; demanded it to release the labour activists immediately. The Korean Police took this protest seriously, sending troops of policemen to block the protesters from showing their banners to the media.
On 28 March, SENTRO, the general trade union of the Philippines also launched a protest at the Chinese embassy to show their support to Chinese labour activists. SENTRO told the media that in recent years, Chinese Government has been monitoring its citizens closely through its facial recognition system and Big Data, it would eventually put the labour and social movements in danger. Josua, the executive director of SENTRO condemned China, as an executive member of the International Labour Organization, failed to protect labour rights and take up its responsibility. In his view, China should dismiss itself from the ILO’s executive committee.
On 29 March, Clean Clothes Campaigns Netherlands’ members took pictures in their office to show support to the Chinese labour movement and urge for their release. Its East Asia branch also wrote to Prime Minister Li Keqiang, to call for the release of labour activists.
Until 1 April, 8121 signatures have been collected with HKCTU’s online campaign at LabourStart’s website.
Chinese Government should respond to the international community’s demands, stop its crackdown against labour movement, release detained labour activists and respect workers’ fundamental rights. It should never adopt repression to address workers’ dismay and labour disputes.