Reprinted from www.corpwatch.org
activists in Guangdong province, a key manufacturing hub in China, have
been detained in a major crackdown on labor rights organizers. The
arrests follow a steep rise in protests and strikes at factories that
have long exploited migrant workers from rural areas with low pay and
The detainees include
Zeng Feiyang and Zhu Xiaomei of the Panyu Migrant Workers Service
Centre, together with former staffers Tang Jian and Meng Han; Peng
Jiayong of the Laborer Mutual Aid Group; He Xiaobo, director of Foshan
Nanfeiyan Social Work Services Organization; and Deng Xiaoming of the
Haige Workers Center.
The Panyu Migrant Workers Service Centre has been in the limelight for the last year after the organization helped workers at Taiwanese-owned Lide shoe factory in Panyu to go on strike. After over 9 months of negotiation,
the workers were able to convince the owners to pay them social
insurance, housing fund contributions, overtime and annual leave
payments, some of which had been in arrears for almost 20 years. (Lide
makes shoes for Western retailers like Coach)
refused to allow the seven activists to meet with lawyers or publish
detailed charges against them. Instead Xinhua, the official state new
agency published a lengthy attack on Zeng Feiyang, the director of Panyu Migrant Workers Service Centre last week.
representatives believe that the real motive of Zeng Feiyang et al is
to incite workers to strike, create a social impact, interfere with
factories' normal production and disturb social order," the news agency
Activists were outraged. "It simply shows how the
government is not genuinely following its own laws and judicial
procedures," Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International, told the South China Morning Post.
"Putting these people on a 'public trial' by the national media instead
of following formal procedures deprives them of any chance to have a
"As a lawyer, I would like the charges made by a
country against a citizen to be in the courts, rather than handling them
in the manner of 'Cultural Revolution' posters," Cheng Zhunqiang, Zeng's lawyer, told Reuters.
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