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28 Dec 2015

Sui-Lee Wee, Reuters

Chinese labor activists stand accused by state media

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“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."