Protest to demand release of labour activist Lin Dong

Lin Dong was arrested on 22 April for supporting Dongguan’s massive Yue Yuen strike

HONG KONG: Members of Socialist Action (CWI) and LSD legislator ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung protested at Adidas, Nike and Timberland stores in Hong Kong’s busy Times Square shopping precinct on May Day. They demanded the release of Shenzhen labour rights campaigner, Lin Dong.

27-year-old Lin faces persecution by the Chinese dictatorship for offering support to more than 40,000 workers who went on strike last month at shoe factories in Dongguan owned by Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings. The strikers’ main demand was for the company to pay its full share of social insurance contributions (see our report). The company made partial concessions to end what was one of the biggest strikes in China in recent times, but repression was also widespread, with dozens of strikers arrested and the detention of Lin, who acted as an advisor to the strikers.

Lin, who works for the Shenzhen Chunfeng Labour Justice Service Department, an NGO, was detained on April 22. He is being held under criminal detention on a charge of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble.” It is thought the charges are based on new laws against online “rumours” introduced by CCP chief Xi Jinping last year. Lin’s lawyer complains he has not been given details of the charges, in violation of China’s laws.

The detention of Lin is an ominous sign of a deepening crackdown on all expressions of dissent in China, and an explicit attack on the emerging workers’ movement. It is an attempt to intimidate the Yue Yuen workers, whose strike has set a new benchmark for labour struggles in China. The strike which broke out with a few hundred workers on 5 April, but involved more than 40,000 at its peak, sets a powerful example to other workers suffering similar abuse and violation of their rights. It also raised the call for independent unions, something the CCP dictatorship fears as a major threat to its position. urges activists and trade unionists internationally to take up the case of Lin Dong, and to direct protests towards the global brands to which Yue Yuen is contracted, including Adidas, Nike, Asics, Timberland and Reebok. These companies have profited from the illegal underpayment of workers by Yue Yuen.

The Chinese report of this protest (use language setting, top of website on the right) is not a translation but a separate report from our Hong Kong correspondent.