Friday, August 3, 2018

China - Shenzhen, China: Union Initiators and Supporters Detained, Thousands Petitioning for Immediate Release

This article was sent to us by Chinese comrades from the site Epoch Pioneer regarding the recent workers’ struggle for a real labor union in Shenzhen, China. As of now, progressive students from tens of universities, more than 100 progressive intellectuals, and 2,000 others organized by Epoch Pioneer have pledged solidarity with the striking workers.
Shenzhen Jiashi Technology Co., Ltd., a listed company, has been imposing on employees overtime work, illegal fines, half-day off per month (even then forced to jog with the boss). It dosen’t pay for the workers’ housing fund, discloses union activists’ information to other companies to blacklist them.

On May 10, 2018, several employee representatives went to Pingshan District Human Resources Bureau and to the District’s ‘official’ Worker Union with a joint letter for Jiashi workers, complaining about the company’s illegal management and hoping that they could organize their own labor union in the company. The Human Resources Bureau did not respond, but the vice chairman of the Pingshan District Federation of Trade Unions, Huang, and section chief Xie, declared that the labor union could be organized by themselves. On June 7, 2018, these employees submitted an application for organizing a union to the District Federation and to its subsidiary Longtian Street Unions. The officials instructed that the representatives can first recruit members by themselves. Under the direction of the District Unions, the representatives prepared an “Questionnaire of Willingness to Join Jiashi Trade Union”, and as many as 89 employees signed to join. However, on July 12, 2018, vice chairman Huang of the District Federation, and other four union officials, together with Jiashi deputy general manager Xia and department managers blamed the representative Mi Jiuping. Huang, who as vice chairman of District Federation had approved the application one month before, suddenly turned hostile and said it is illegal for Jiashi workers to establish a union.
On July 16, Liu Penghua, another employee representative was deliberately transferred to a different workplace for no reason. There he was immediately beaten by two unidentified men, who later drove out of the factory without any obstruction! Workers called the police who ignored Liu Penghua’s injury and instead asked him to negotiate with the factory by himself! Liu Penghua was detained by the police station until 12 o’clock p.m that day, with his fellow workers standing at the door of police station and supporting him.
On July 18, the representative Mi Jiuping was also deliberately taken to a strange task by the factory. The section chief Xie of District Union asked Mi to write a statement that the establishment of Jiashi union has nothing to do with the District Federation, and Mi Jiuping refused firmly! That afternoon Mi was asked to transfer his working post immediately. As Mi did not agree with such a sudden decision, the factory instructed several security guards to throw him out of the factory! An enthusiastic co-worker, Yao was also threatened and hit by the supervisor, as he wanted to help Mi.  In the evening, Mi and Yao were both illegally fired.
On July 20, Mi Jiuping and Liu Penghua arrived factory at 7:40 a.m. and wanted to work as normally, but were maliciously blocked by security guards and thrown out of the factory. Around 10:30 a.m. the police officers came and beat Mi and Liu again, but let the security guards (offenders) go!
More than 20 fellow workers came at noon to the police station to ask for release, and were dragged by a group of heavily armed police officers brutally into police station and detained for 24 hours.
On July 26, several worker representatives were beaten by the factory security guards once again and taken away of cell phones, in which there were the evidence against the company illegal actions, the company’s managers believed. And the coming police warned the beaten workers to obey orders, letting the beaters as unpunished as last time!
And the next day Jiashi factory restricted worker representatives and other activists’ personal freedom and handed over them to local police station. Coworkers who went to police station asking for release were also arrested. In the evening, police even intruded into representatives Liu Penghua and Guang Hengshu’s houses and took their family members away! There were totally over 30 people, including union initiators, their families and supporters.
By July 30, they are still detained which has drawn attention of the whole country. People from all around have written open letters to Yanziling Police Station’s superior department, Shenzhen City Government, requiring to release them immediately and to investigate illegal conducts of Jiashi Company and local police station seriously.
Written and translated by Epoch Pioneers (Shidai Xianfeng)

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