Police repression against workers at Shenzhen factory who are campaigning to set up a democratic trade union
On 11 August, Shen Mengyu, well-known as a Maoist and worker activist, was seized while eating dinner with her father by three unidentified men believed to be from China’s security forces and forcibly bundled into an unmarked car. Her whereabouts are still unknown. Shen’s abduction follows a wave of repression against workers at Jasic Technology in Shenzhen who have been bravely campaigning to set up a democratic i.e. independent trade union.
Another activist, Xiao Hu, was detained at around the same time. These appear to be the latest attempts by Chinese authorities to suppress this landmark struggle of workers to organise and defend their rights.
Since 18 July workers at the Jasic Technology factory, which employs 1,000 workers making electronic welding machines and robotic arms, have been campaigning to set up a trade union and elect their own representatives.
Jasic Technology, based in the Pingshan district of Shenzhen, is a private stock market-listed company and its bosses have close ties to the local CCP (‘Communist’ Party) government. The company bosses seem determined, with the backing of the government and police, to quash this attempt to establish an independent workers’ union. They claim there is already a union but this is a fake union, controlled by the management, and linked to the official state-controlled ACFTU.
Police detained 30 workers on 27 July, 14 of whom are currently still being held. Workers have reported torture and physical assaults by police. Those released are under police surveillance. The company has sacked several of the workers who are leading the struggle. Workers and left-wing student activists have staged protests outside the police station against the repression and to demand the release of their comrades. These workers could be charged with “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” which can result in five years in prison.
An open letter written by Shen Mengyu and other activists involved in the struggle points out that Jia Lei, the owner of Jasic Technology, and personnel manager Guo Liqun are both delegates to the Shenzhen People’s Congress. This is a local version of China’s pseudo parliament, the NPC, and underlines the level of integration between capitalists and the CCP authorities which is common throughout China.
chinaworker.info supports the legitimate struggle of Jasic technology workers. We demand that police reveal where Shen Mengyu and other detainees are being held and on what charges.
We urge international labour and trade union activists to take up this case with urgency: Demand Shen’s release and the release of the other detained workers and that no charges are pressed. Support the demand for immediate recognition of the rights of Jasic Technology workers to form a democratic and independent trade union and the immediate re-instatement of dismissed workers.