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China: rights group calls for release of detained labour activists

Author: Reuters, Published on: 4 December 2018

"China should release detained labour activists, says rights group", 4 December 2018

Human Rights Watch... called on the Chinese government to set free a group of over 30 labour activists, factory workers, college students and trade union officials detained in a nationwide crackdown launched in mid-2018.

In July, workers at Jasic International, a welding-machinery manufacturer in southern Shenzhen city, staged protests after being fired by their employer while attempting to form an autonomous labour union. The incident has sparked waves of detentions by the Chinese authorities followed by further activist demonstrations from supporters from across the country...

China's Ministry of Public Security did not immediately respond... for comment...

Only worker unions that are registered with the official All-China Federation of Trade Unions are considered legal. The Jasic workers had been willing to register, but had sought to elect their own union leaders, rather than allowing the company management to choose them.

As a member of the International Labour Organization, China should also be obligated to allow workers to freely associate and collectively bargain...

Thirty-two individuals remain detained, including labour union officials who helped workers apply to set up their autonomous union, and four have been charged with the crime of "picking quarrels and provoking trouble", according to the Jasic Workers Support Group, a collection of activists.

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