Demanding Release of Labour Activists in Guangdong by Chinese New Year

Some 30 members of the HKCTU, GM and other labour organizations met at Western Police Station on 6 Feb (two days before the Chinese New Year) and marched to the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong. They shouted slogans such as “Protest against suppression of labour activists in Guangdong”, “Stop political pressure, defending labour rights is not a crime”, “Immediate release of Zeng Feiyang / He Xiaobo / Meng Han”. When they reached the back entrance of the Liaison Office, representatives from the trade union, labour / civil society organizations made their speech. They demanded the Chinese Government to release Zeng Feiyang, He Xiaobo, Meng Han and other labour activists, so that they could go home for Chinese New Year. They also urged the Chinese Government to stop suppressing labour rights and violating human rights.

Lee Cheuk-yan, General Secretary of the HKCTU reflected that the HKCTU had drafted a complaint and would be discussing it with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), to make a formal compliant at the International Labour Organization (ILO) against Chinese Government. It would demand the Chinese Government and All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) to publicly answer for their suppression of freedom of association and political detention of labour activists in Guangdong. Lee explained that complaining at the international community might not bring immediate results, but it can still pose some constraints on the Chinese Government and make it embarrassed, which indirectly protects the labour activists who are being suppressed. After the protestors have read their demands, they gave a pot of dumplings and glutinous rice balls to the Liaison Office , as they wished the labour activists would be released immediately and return home to celebrate Chinese New Year, the most important Chinese New Year with their families.

Since 3 December 2015, political suppression of labour activists has been going on in Guangdong. Until now, three of them are still being detained, i.e. Zeng Feiyang, director of Panyu Migrant Workers Centre and his ex-co-worker Meng Han, He Xiaobo, director of Nan Fei Yan Social Work Services Organization. The procuratorate has approved to arrest them and charge them with “inciting a crowd to disturb social order” and “embezzlement of duties”. The authority has denied their lawyers’ application to meet them. The authority even “delivered fake message”, urging their families not to get lawyers to represent them. It got caught lying when a fellow detainee, told He Xiaobo’s wife that He asked him to tell her to insist in getting a lawyer. Another labour activist, Liu Shaoming was charged with “inciting subversion of state power” and has been detained since mid-2015. Another four activists who were detained on 3 Decemeber 2015, have been released in the last one month. They are Panyu Migrant Workers Centre’s Zhu Xiaomei and ex-staff Tang Jing, Peng Jiayong of Panyu-based Laborer Mutual Aid Group and Deng Xiaoming of Guangzhou Haige Workers’ Services Centre. For more details, please visit the facebook page of “Free Chinese Labour Activists Now!”