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Message-ID: <19970729125857chrisbailey@gn.apc.org@am053.du.pipex.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 07:59:56 -0400
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: LabourNet <chrisbailey@GN.APC.ORG>
Subject: Fw: Protest against repression of Chinese workers

-----Begin Included Message -----
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 1997 17:10:21 +0800
From: alarm <alarm@HK.Super.NET>
To: chittabrata.majumda@gems.vsnl.net.in

Protest against repression of workers demonstrations; Fight against eploitation of workers by the corrupt government

From the Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee, et al., [28 July 1997]

Dear Friends,

Greetings. Following is the statement prepared by the Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee (HKCIC) in protest to the Chinese government's action during the workers' demonstration in July 10 at Mianyang City, Sichuan province.

The workers were protesting against corruption of government officials and the lack of proper unemployment benefits. Instead of listening to their sentiments, the police dispersed the demonstrators and many workers were beaten and some of them were arrested. What is worse, the demonstration was later branded as riot, suggesting disorder.

The whole of Mianyang City has been patrolled by police to make sure no more demonstrations occur. White terrorism reigns! the statement warns.

We are circulating this statement and we ask you to endorse it through:

  1. Send the statement back to us with your name and organisation.
  2. Print the statement in your letterhead and fax it to (852) 2992-0111 Attn:ALARM

We hope for your support.

In solidarity,

Bien Molina Jnr.
ALARM Secretariat

Defend The Workers Rights to Work And Rights of Survival

We strongly protest against the Sichuan Provincial Government for its harsh suppression of workers in Mianyang, Sichuan, for their demonstration on July 10, 1997 against corruption and lack of unemployment benefits.

The working class creates wealth for enterprises in particular, and the country in general. They should have a say in enterprises' management and its implementation. Moreover, they have the right to protect their livelihood. Workers in the Mianyang Silk Spinning Factory, a state-owned enterprise, were entitled to enjoy unemployment benefits which was owed to them after the closure of the factories. Workers should be consulted on the remedial measures after closure but it was not the case. As corruption among government officials is serious, workers could not enjoy such minimum protection for their livelihood. It was an act of disregard for workers' lives and of deprivation of workers right of survival and right to work. Workers were forced to defend their rights by organising a demonstration against the corruption of government officials and their violation of workers' rights.

However, the local authorities did not listen to the workers. Instead, they suppressed the demonstration by the use of police force and imposed a curfew. Many workers were beaten and some of them were arrested. The police even stopped medical personnel from caring for the wounded. The demonstration was later identified as riot which reminded people of the same incident in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in May 1989. We are angry that the Mianyang Daily, a local official newspaper condemned the demonstration as riot provoked by foreign powers and local opposition. The whole of Mianyang City has been patrolled by police to make sure no more demonstrations occur. White terrorism reigns!

In fact, this is not an isolated case. In March this year, more than 20,000 workers joined a demonstration in Namchung, Sichuan against arrears in wage. Although wages were paid back later, several workers were arrested. On June 14, 1997, twelve workers' representatives were arrested for organising a demonstration in Chengdu, Sichuan against serious unemployment, mass lay- offs and exploitation of workers. The Chinese authorities not only neglect the interests of workers, but brutally attack any collective action by workers.

We strongly believe that strikes and demonstrations are the basic right of workers. They are also stated clearly in the Chinese Constitution, demonstration for workers is not only for their survival, but also a way to act as masters of the country and to practice their civil liberty.

The official trade union of the Mianyang City ( Mianyang Federation of Trade Unions) also stood with the local authority, rather than with the oppressed workers. In an interview with the press, the trade union openly defended the government's brutal oppression. They claimed that workers' interests had been fully protected. This clearly shows the tight control of the trade union by the government. The official trade union can not represent workers and can not serve as a voice for workers. Under the Chinese Trade Union law, the freedom of association is denied. Freedom of association is repressed even though it is stipulated by the Constitution. The Trade Union Law states that workers can only be allowed to join an official trade union which is an apparatus of the Communist Party. Without the right to organise independent trade unions, workers lose a weapon for defending their rights.

We hereby strongly demand that the Chinese Government should:

1. Stop oppression of workers immediately;

2. Investigate the case and reveal the true story, and should prosecute the oppressors and other government officials who are held responsible for causing this incident;

3. Release all workers and provide the wounded appropriate medical care and compensation;

4. Release unemployment benefits to workers as soon as possible and negotiate with workers about the remedial measures for the closure;

5. Repeal the regulations which restrict the freedom of organisation of independent trade unions


Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
Neighborhood and Workers' Service Center
April Fifth Action
Don't Forget June Fourth
Asia Monitor Resource Center
APEC Labour Rights Monitor