Repression against labour movement goes on: Journalists who reported on workers with silicosis under arrest

Datu(left) and Xiao Wei(right)

Repost from HKCTU

Since the Jasic protest broke out in July 2018, labour activists in China have faced a series of crackdowns. Activists, workers’ leaders and their supporters were harassed and attacked at different levels. On 20 March 2019, two editors of “New Generation”, a Chinese magazine which is concerned about labour rights, were abducted by police and lost contact with their families, as the latest blow of the recent repression to the labour movement.

Shortly after midnight, Wei Zhili (known as Xiao Wei) was detained by the police on his way to his parents home. The police forcibly broke into his family to search and took him away with handcuffs. Wei’s father asked the police to show him their identity documents and saw that one police officer was from Longhua Police Station of Shenzhen City.

During the detention procedure, the police repeatedly threatened Wei’s family, accusing Wei of “anti-communist party and anti-revolutionary”. They claimed they would send Wei for “brain-washing education”, prohibited Wei’s parents to prepare some clothes for Wei and even declined Wei’s request to visit the washroom. The search and detention procedure lasted an hour and Wei was finally taken away at 2am. His family was told to expect a “criminal detention notice”. Another editor of “New Generation”, Ke Chengbing (known as Lao Mu) has gone missing since 20 March 2019, it is believed he was also detained.

Both Xiao Wei and Lao Mu, together with New Generation’s chief editor Yang Zengjun (known as Baozi), who was detained since January 2019, have been following the struggle of silicosis workers from Hunan Province and other labour disputes attentively. Every time when the silicosis workers came to protest in Shenzhen, they would spread the news through their magazine. However, the Chinese Government considers supporters of labour movement and vulnerable community as “anti-communist party, anti-revolutionary”.

Since July 2018, labour movement in China has been under severe attack. Labour activists were also unlawfully treated during their detention. Four labour activists, including Zhang Zhiru, Wu Guijun were detained since January 2019 and until now, they have been deprived from seeing their families or communicating with their lawyers. Fu Changguo, a bystander at the Jasic protest in August 2018 who posted the news of protest online,was also detained. His sister went to ask about his conditions on 14 March and was told that he had been relocated on 26 January. Fu’s lawyer has made requests at Pingshan District and Yangzi Ling Police Stations but the requests were ignored. In other words, it is worrying that labour activists are being detained in such a nontransparent system.

On 20 March, Xiao Wei’s wife Zheng Churen (known as Datu) wrote on her facebook page, expressing her love and support for Wei. She mentioned that she had called to different police stations to ask her husbands’ whereabouts, but was told “no such a detainee here”. Her worry is vivid and massive. Thus, we urge the Chinese Government to immediately stop its repression against labour movement, release all detained labour activists, respect labour rights and freedom.