[Marxism] Fwd: [chinaconcern] Open Statement by Hong Kong Labour Groups on the Trial of Guangdong Labour Activists

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 27 08:42:57 MDT 2016

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: au loongyu <auloongyu at hotmail.com>
Date: Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 8:02 AM
Subject: [chinaconcern] Open Statement by Hong Kong Labour Groups on the
Trial of Guangdong Labour Activists
To: "chinaconcern at lists.riseup.net" <chinaconcern at lists.riseup.net>

*Open Statement by Hong Kong Labour Groups on the Trial of Guangdong Labour
Activists *
Three Guangdong labour activists - Zeng Feiyang, Zhu Xiaomei, and Tang
Huanxing, who were arrested by Chinese police on 3 December 2015 - will
stand trial on charges of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order” on 26
- 28 September in the Panyu district court in Guangzhou. Meng Han, who was
arrested with them, remains detained in Guangzhou Detention Centre No. 1.
Local prosecutors sent his case back a second time to the police for
further investigation and a hearing for him has yet to be set.

In the December arrests, more than 50 labour activists were taken in for
questioning, and seven were detained or disappeared. Those seven spent long
periods in detention, and were unable to meet with their lawyers. Lawyers
authorized by family members of the detained went to the detention center
asking to meet their clients, but the lawyers were often denied on the
grounds that they needed the approval of the police authorities
investigating the case; sometimes they were not even given any reason or
documentation. Of those detained, Zeng Feiyang was not able to see his
lawyer until six months after his arrest, and was the subject of a smear
campaign by official media. In addition, the family members of those
arrested have to this day been subjected to surveillance, physical threats,
and verbal intimidation.

Since 2015, mainland China’s civil society has faced frequent repression,
with several large-scale arrests of rights defence lawyers, and women's
rights and labour activists. Recently, Communist Party authorities held a
series of political trials of those arrested. In August of this year, four
rights defence lawyers - Zhou Shifeng, Hu Shigen, Gou Hongguo, and Zhai
Yanmin - were charged with "subversion of state power" and given prison
sentences ranging from three to seven years. On September 22, the Beijing
lawyer Xia Lin, who has defended many activists (including Ai Weiwei, Pu
Zhiqiang, and Tan Zuoren), was sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraud.
Chinese courts have become the Chinese Communist Party's tool for political
repression, piling on various offences to prosecute activists and deprive
them of their civil rights.

Similarly, we believe the actions of the Guangzhou police have trampled on
the principles of justice and law and the basic human rights of those
arrested, and seriously violated current domestic law. Article 11 of the
International Declaration of Human Rights clearly states all those subject
to criminal prosecution have the right to obtain adequate defence. Article
14.3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees
the right of those facing criminal prosecution the right to contact a
lawyer of their own choosing in the preparation of a defense. The meaning
of the phrase "of their own choosing" is that the accused should make the
choice of their own free will, and not under threat or force. The [United
Nations] Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of
Detention or Imprisonment expressly provides that a detainee should have
the right to assistance in obtaining legal counsel, and the right to
communicate and consult with legal counsel. Article 125 of the People's
Republic of China Constitution states: "the accused have the right to
defense." Article 14 of the People's Republic of China Criminal Procedure
Law states: "the public security organs shall safeguard the procedural
rights to which participants in proceedings are entitled according to law".
Article 33 of the Criminal Procedure Law states that for a “defendant in
custody, his or her guardian or close relative may retain a defender on his
or her behalf.”

Today three labour activists stand trial. In light of the actions taken
since last December by Guangzhou police in committing multiple violations
of the rights of the detained, and monitoring and harassing their family
members, we issue the following public statement:

1. When the legal rights of workers have been violated, it is natural for
them to self-organize and seek out social support. Even though they caused
losses for the factory, this does not constitute "gathering a crowd to
disturb social order". The rights of workers to freedom of association and
collective bargaining should be respected; workers and labour activists
have committed no crime in defending the rights of labour.

2. The Ministry of Public Security should carry out its supervisory
responsibilities and instruct the Guangzhou police to follow the
aforementioned national laws and international conventions recognized by
the Chinese government, protect the rights of the four accused to an
effective defence and to freely appoint a lawyer, and to protect the rights
of the families of the accused to appoint a lawyer and prepare an adequate
defence until the end of the trial.

3. The Guangzhou Municipal People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's
Procuratorate should carry out their legal supervisory responsibilities,
curb the illegal actions of the public authorities in this case, and make a
record of and investigate those who have violated the law and bring them to

4. We are watching the situation closely, and demand an immediate end to
the political prosecution of the staff of these labour organizations, and
their immediate release.

*Co-signed Organizations:*
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
Globalization Monitor
Workers Empowerment
Labour Education and Service Network
Labour Action China
Red Balloon Editorial Committee
Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour
China Labour Bulletin
Left 21
Asia Monitor Resource Centre

September 26, 2016

More information about the Marxism mailing list