Since 2012, the Mainland labour NGOs has been politically oppressed by forcing them to move out from their offices. However, the oppression has been escalating to detaining and seriously assaulting labour rights defenders by police recently. HKCTU is going to publish a Labour Day Declaration on ending violence against labour activists and calling for your support to condemn the abuse of police power against labour activists in China. This Labour Day Declaration will be announced by HKCTU at Victoria Park before the beginning of Hong Kong’s May Day Rally, it would be submitted to Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong S.A.R. on 5 May 2015. The deadline for collecting signature would be 4 May 2015. Should you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact Mr. Wong at 2770 8668 or by email email@example.com
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Labour Day Declaration on Ending Violence against Labour Activists
Condemning violence against labour movement & calling for an immediate stop to violent assaults
Since 2012, the HKCTU has made several calls, demanding a halt to political oppression against labour organizations in China. In recent years, whilst Chinese workers’ awareness is growing and workers are getting more vocal to resist labour violations, the political space is also tightening. The oppression has been escalating, from forcing labour organizations to move out from their offices, to physical assaults against their staff members. On 31 December 2014, the HKCTU and Globalization Monitor jointly launched a global petition campaign, to address the violent attack on Zeng Feiyang, the head of Panyu Migrant Workers Documentation Center, as well as many other similar cases. Until April 2015, staff members of Chinese labour organizations have been living under consistent threats of violent assaults, some have been detained and seriously assaulted by police.
Abuse of police power Groundless crackdown on workers' rights-defending actions
On 2 April 2015, Peng Jiayong, Liu Shaoming, Deng Xiaoming who were volunteers of Haige Workers’ Services Centre, were forcibly abducted to Yakou Police Station in Zhongshan City. The three volunteers have been assisting workers to negotiate with the Japanese-invested Tsuiheng Package Plant in Zhongshan City, demanding workers’ long missing social insurance premiums and redressing other violations. Peng Jiayong was continuously attacked by the police officers throughout the detention time, resulting in many injuries in his loin, ribs and back of the head, right leg and other parts of his body. Peng was taken to Panyu Shiqiao Hospital for treatment.
On 19 April 2015, Meng Han, a staff member of Panyu Migrant Worker Documentation Center was forcibly taken away by nearly 100 police officers while he was assisting workers at Panyu Lide Shoes Industry Company Limited, to re-elect their representatives in a hall. Workers’ representatives were also attacked and detained. After a large number of workers gathered in front of the police station, Meng and workers’ representatives were finally released.
In the past few years, labour organizations have been forced to move out from their offices, their registrations were voided, their directors were being arbitrarily detained. We continuously receive news about strikers facing violent crackdown and detention for standing up for their rights. As workers are getting more aware of their rights, the local stabilizing force appears to get out of control. The law enforcement agency openly attacks staff of labour organizations, police assaults striking workers’ representatives and in some areas, they are collaborating with local thugs to suppress workers’ collective actions. The frequency and scale of these attacks are getting outrageously high. Inside China, the government has been emphasising “rule of law” and internationally, it has been marketing itself as a civilized and peaceful rise of China. However, the local governments are allowed to act as hooligans and law enforcement agency openly violates laws, physically attacks workers and threatens workers’ organizations. Obviously China talks the talk but it doesn't walk the walk.
The Origin of Labour Day is to memorise the workers in Chicago who were killed in a government-led violent crackdown. The spirit of May Day is to fight against political and capital powers which suppress workers’ rights with violence. Thus, the HKCTU is calling you, who cares about labour rights from all over the world:
1. To condemn the abuse of police power in China, to demand an immediate stop to violence and oppression against labour organizations and workers’ representatives;
2. To call on the Chinese Government to investigate the cases of violent assaults, which involve officials and civil servants, to protect civil rights as its fundamental obligations;
3. To request the Chinese government to ratify and to fulfill the requirements of No. 87 of the International Labour Convention, to protect the workers and citizens that can enjoy inviolability of freedom of association and the right to organize
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
23 April 2015
Relevant news' reports about the above violent assault:
6 Apr, 2015. The Vancouversun , “China beset by strikes as working class awakens” http://www.vancouversun.com/business/China+beset+strikes+working+class+awakens/10949506/story.html
At the sharp end of the workers’ movement in China: The Zhongshan Cuiheng strike http://www.clb.org.hk/en/content/sharp-end-workers%E2%80%99-movement-china-zhongshan-cuiheng-strike
18 Apr, 2015. Union Solidarity International, “China’s labour activists unhindered by government clampdown”http://usilive.org/chinas-labour-activists-unhindered-by-government-clampdown/