Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 19:33:04 +0800
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YorkU.CA>
From: Gerard Greenfield <gjg@PACIFIC.NET.HK>
Subject: China: Gansu Labour Activists Sentenced

Gansu labour activists sentenced

China Labour Bulletin, press release, 5 July 1999

Two labour activists and their advisor from the city of Tianshui in Gansu province have been sentenced to prison terms by the Tianshui People's Intermediate Court after being charged with subverting state power.

Yue Tianxiang was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment
Guo Xinmin was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment
Wang Fengshan was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment

Guo Xinmin and Yue Tianxiang were both drivers at the state-owned Tianshui City Transport Company. In 1995 they were laid off despite being owed three months back pay. When the company refused to negotiate a settlement regarding wage arrears and a legal-entitled living allowance, the two workers decided to take their case to the Tianshui Labour Disputes Arbitration Committee (LDAC). The LDAC's decision stipulated that the company should find new positions for the two as soon as possible, but the manager refused to abide by the decision.

After realising that many fellow workers faced the same treatment they set up a journal called China Workers 'Monitor and used the inaugural issue to uncover corruption at their former company.

Yue and Guo also wrote an open letter to President Jiang Zemin asking for official intervention from Beijing. After receiving no answer, they sent the same letter to international news agencies hoping to bring more pressure to bear on the authorities in Tianshui. Within a week of releasing the letter, the two had been picked up by the police and charged with subversion.

The case of the above three activists has been included in an official complaint by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unionists (ICFTU) to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) of which China is a member. The complaint is addressed to the ILO's Committee for Freedom of Association. Indeed this latest case is yet more evidence of the Chinese government's deliberate violation of it's own laws and Constitution under which Chinese citizens are guaranteed the right to freedom of the press and of association.