China: About 50 labour activists detained by authorities, 7 criminally detained among which 5 were charged & sentenced
"After detaining seven labor activists for more than a month, on January 8 the Chinese government formally arrested four of the activists. Their names are Zeng Feiyang, Zhu Xiaomei, and Meng Han (all of the Panyu Workers Center), and He Xiaobo (of the Nanfeiyan Social Worker Center). Zeng, Zhu, and Meng have been arrested for “gathering crowds to disturb public order”, while He was arrested on the grounds of “embezzlement”. The activists have continually been denied their right to meet their lawyers..."
"[M]ore than nine months after they were arrested amid a crackdown on civic organizations...Zeng Feiyang...was charged with “gathering a crowd to disturb social order” and sentenced to three years with a four-year suspension. The two other organizers, Tang Jian and Zhu Xiaomei, were sentenced to one and a half years in prison with two-year suspensions..."
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Author: Sui-Lee Wee, Reuters
“China arrests four labour activists amid crackdown: lawyers”, 10 Jan 2016
China has formally arrested four labour activists who have helped workers fight for their rights, lawyers for two of them said on Sunday, as the government steps up a crackdown on activists pressing for change within the system.
Rights groups say the current clampdown on dissent is the most sweeping in two decades in China, where a slowing economy has led to a surge in labour disputes, particularly in the southern manufacturing powerhouse of Guangdong.
Zeng Feiyang…was charged with "disturbing social order", said Cheng Zhunqiang, his lawyer. Zeng is one of China's most prominent labour activists, many of whom have campaigned for the legal rights of workers, such as proper work contracts and social insurance contributions. Two other activists, Meng Han and Zhu Xiaomei, have also been arrested on the same charge, said Yan Xin, Meng's lawyer, and Cheng. He Xiaobo was arrested on a charge of embezzlement, according to New York-based rights group China Labor Watch…Both lawyers said they had been unable to meet their clients since their detentions, in contravention of Chinese law…
"律师：曾飞洋等4人被批捕 拘留至今未能会见", 2016年1月11日
曾 飞洋是“番禺打工族”负责人，朱小梅是该组织员工。去年12月22日，新华社报道指…“佛山南飞雁社工中心”负责人何晓波[等]7人，因涉嫌犯罪被警方依 法采取刑事强制措施。同时发布长篇报道，指非政府组织“番禺打工族文书处理服务部”是非法组织，其长期接受境外组织资助，在境内插手劳资纠纷，严重扰乱社 会秩序，严重践踏工人权益…
曾飞洋的律师成准强向路透社表示，曾被以扰乱社会秩序罪批捕。孟晗的律师燕薪和成准强都表示，孟晗和朱小梅也被 以扰乱社会秩序罪批捕。在纽约的中国劳工观察组织则表示，何晓波被以涉嫌职务侵占罪批捕。路透社未能联络到朱小梅和何晓波的律师…两名律师还指，自曾飞洋 和孟晗被拘留以来，他们一直未能会见。
- Related stories: 中国：多名劳工运动人士被警方逮捕
Author: Eli Friedman (Cornell Univ.), Aaron Halegua (New York Univ.) & Jerome A. Cohen (US-Asia Law Institute), in Washington Post (USA)
"Cruel irony: China’s Communists are stamping out labor activism", 3 Jan 2016
…China’s labor nongovernmental organizations have suffered regular rounds of repression and harassment…But this most recent repression is more serious. It seems that the Communist Party is intent on stamping out labor activism in civil society once and for all…
In fact, labor NGOs play a productive role in resolving such disputes…labor NGOs advise strikers on how to formulate their demands, elect representatives and engage in collective negotiations with employers to resolve the underlying violations, and sometimes even assist in reaching agreements governing future relations…Unfortunately…NGOs are viewed as threatening state power as well as the interests of employers…
Part of the problem is that the state-controlled All-China Federation of Trade Unions claims an absolute monopoly on representing and advocating for China’s workers, but in reality does little of either…If the government were serious about improving labor relations, it would require trade unions to learn from these NGO leaders…[refers to Honda & Lide Footware]
- Related stories: China: At least 19 labour activists detained by authorities in latest crackdown
- Related companies: Honda
Author: Sui-Lee Wee, Reuters
“Chinese labor activists stand accused by state media”, 23 Dec 2015
Chinese state media have accused seven detained labor activists of "inciting workers to go on strike", accepting foreign funding and "disturbing social order", sparking criticism from rights groups…Earlier this month, police in Guangzhou detained Zeng Feiyang, the director of the Guangzhou-based Panyu Migrant Workers Centre, on a charge of "disturbing social order", said Zeng's lawyer, Cheng Zhunqiang. Six other activists have also been detained, according to rights group Amnesty International.
The more detailed accusations listed [later] by state news agency Xinhua…and state broadcaster CCTV…follow a string of "confessions" made by high-profile suspects on state television and articles used to discredit detained rights lawyers. Critics say these accounts deprive the accused of the right to a fair trial.
"Workers' 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," Xinhua said. Zeng and the other activists "forced factories' leaders into submission and incited workers to surround law enforcement agencies, causing a very bad impact on society", Xinhua said…
Geoffrey Crothall, communications director at China Labour Bulletin, said the activists were helping workers fight for their legal entitlements. "These groups are the ones that are actually upholding the law."
Author: 梓鹏, BBC中文网 (英国)
…《中国劳工通讯》（China Labour Bulletin）…杰里弗（Crothall Jeoffrey）指出，现在被捕的工运活动人士迄今未被允许接触律师...杰里弗介绍说，广东的劳工组织一直都有被中国当局“骚扰”，此次警方的刑事拘留使得情况更糟…杰里弗也反驳《人民日报》的叙述称：“服务部在幕后策划、组织、操纵工人罢工，激化劳资矛盾，严重扰乱社会秩序。” 他解释称，番禹中心只是帮工人争取合法权益，但当地政府、中华全国总工会和雇主们不作为，无法解决工人诉求。所以工人求助非政府组织（NGO）是“没办法的办法”。他说：“七个活动人士遭遇逮捕后，还有罢工发生。所以问题不在NGO身上。”
- Related stories: 中国：多名劳工运动人士被警方逮捕
Author: 梓鵬, BBC中文網(英國)
…《中國勞工通訊》（China Labour Bulletin）…傑里弗（Crothall Jeoffrey）指出，現在被捕的工運活動人士迄今未被允許接觸律師...傑里弗介紹說，廣東的勞工組織一直都有被中國當局“騷擾”，此次警方的刑事拘留使得情況更糟…傑里弗也反駁《人民日報》的敘述稱：“服務部在幕後策劃、組織、操縱工人罷工，激化勞資矛盾，嚴重擾亂社會秩序。” 他解釋稱，番禹中心只是幫工人爭取合法權益，但當地政府、中華全國總工會和雇主們不作為，無法解決工人訴求。所以工人求助非政府組織（NGO）是“沒辦法的辦法”。他說：“七個活動人士遭遇逮捕後，還有罷工發生。所以問題不在NGO身上。”
Author: 張璁, 人民日報(中國)
Author: Chun Han Wong, Wall Street Journal (USA)
Chinese authorities detained or interrogated more than a dozen labor activists in a southern manufacturing hub this week, a sweep that underscores Beijing’s growing anxiety over worker unrest…The activists, mainly based in the cities of Guangzhou and Foshan, were rounded up by police for questioning Thursday, according to some of the activists and their associates. They said as many as 19 people were taken in…at least 10 people remained out of contact as of Saturday evening, including three activists who have been placed under criminal detention…
It wasn’t clear what prompted the sweep, though…have increasingly clamped down on industrial unrest that has swelled over the past year, amid an economic slowdown that has led to a rise in layoffs and wage disputes…Scholars say the crackdown appeared to target activists who focus on organizing workers involved in labor disputes and advising them on how to collectively negotiate over unpaid wages and other grievances.
…One of the activists under criminal detention is Zeng Feiyang, founder of the Guangdong Panyu Migrant Workers Center, which has been assisting workers in collective negotiations, including in a recent dispute between sanitation workers and their employment agency…