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Arrested NGO leader: Zeng Fei yang
Zeng is the person in charge for Panyu Workers Service Center. He graduated in 1996 from Law and Politics, South China Normal University, later entered into Justice Bureau of his home county. He however was not satisfied with his well-paid job. In not more than one year, he joined instead the Guandong Jing Lun law firm. At that time, the law firm was the top among others, and was with good prospects for career development. He was asked to give legal advice to enterprises on all sorts of legal questions. Labour disputes are one of the kinds that is the most difficult. His role was to bargain with workers on behalf of the enterprises. Gradually, he became guilty of what he was doing — Those workers that he was asked to bargain, if not confront, were farmer-workers that sells their cheap labour for a living; what were they left with when their only “capital” — their bodies — were seriously injured? With this unfair treatment, how could they possibly continue their lives?
Therefore he joined Panyu Workers Service Centers, previously called “Panyu Workers Documents Preparation Service Group”. At that time, Zeng like all other people were unfamiliar with the operation of NGO. He just wanted to contribute to labour rights! He then gives legal advice to workers who are injured and are victims of wage arrears, with very humble remunerations. Until 2000, an opportunity came up to inspire him to transform “Service Group” into a labour NGO called “Panyu Workers Service Center”. Since its establishment, it has helped thousands of migrant workers through providing one-to-one assistance and agency services, etc.
Zeng was once awarded the “Charity Award” by the Responsible China 2012 Charity Ceremony, organised by Southern Metropolis Daily, because of his enduring labour work. But he was also physically attacked on December 2014 at his office by an unidentified person and got his organization’s license suspended.
“Workers should not be left with hopelessness and helplessness. It is the society who neglects their need for legal advice.” Zeng feels that we should do something for them.