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19 Nov 2018

Javier C. Hernández, New York Times (USA)

China: More than a dozen young activists reportedly gone missing after campaign for workers’ rights

"Young Activists Go Missing in China, Raising Fears of Crackdown", 11 Nov 2018

At least a dozen young activists who took part in a national campaign for workers’ rights in China are missing, friends said on Sunday, in what appeared to be an effort by the government to silence one of the most visible student protests in years. Unidentified men in at least five Chinese cities rounded up the activists [including Zhang Shengye], who are recent graduates of elite universities…The men beat several activists before pushing them into cars and driving away, the friends said… Mr. Zhang had been organizing efforts to find activists who were previously detained by the authorities but whose locations are unknown, students said…

The campaign for workers’ rights began in the summer, when dozens of young people descended on Huizhou, a city in southern China, to organize demonstrations in support of factory workers who said they were being treated like slaves…After several weeks of protests and a vibrant social media campaign, the police detained dozens of workers and activists. More than two months later, several remain in detention.

More recently, student activists have tried to organize protests on a variety of issues, including the alleged abuse of workers at a Chinese supplier for Apple, and miners grappling with black lung disease. But the authorities have tried to block them from organizing…In Beijing, students at Renmin University say they were held under house arrest and monitored because of their participation in the protests over the summer in Huizhou…