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6 Feb 2016

Nathan VanderKlippe, Globe & Mail

China: Labour group sues state media for defamation against detained activists

"Activist group challenges China’s state media with defamation suit", 25 Jan 2016

China’s state media has played a central role in a nationwide crackdown on dissidents…On Dec. 22, Xinhua published a lengthy article that…portrayed the activists as moral delinquents whose work undermined state security. Zeng Feiyang, the most high-profile of those detained, had “at least eight long-term lovers” …Xinhua said. The real motive for Mr. Zeng, Mr. He and the other activists was “to incite workers to strike, create a social impact, interfere with factories’ normal production and disturb social order,” Xinhua reported…

Mr. Zeng and two others were later formally arrested for “gathering a crowd to disrupt public order.” Two were released on bail; the status of another remains unknown. Mr. He was charged with embezzlement. He began to fight for the rights of injured workers after losing three fingers in an industrial accident in 2006. Nanfeiyan [Mr. He's organisation] says it has helped nearly 10,000 injured workers obtain compensation.

...[T]he organization said it was submitting its defamation suit to “defend our own reputation” even as it continues to “defend the rights of workers who suffer injuries.”…