Fri, Aug 17, 2018 - Page 9 News List

Student activists in China provide rare glimpse into rising unrest in workforce

By Sue-Lin Wong and Christian Shepherd  /  Reporters, BEIJING and SHENZHEN, China

Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin communications director Geoffrey Crothall said the protests could resonate at other factories.

“It certainly has the potential to be replicated if the workers from another factory are similarly motivated and well-organized,” he said.

The CCP has pushed for unions to better protect workers, but the efforts were “superficial,” he said.

“It really does impinge on the party’s legitimacy,” Crothall said.

As of Sunday, 15 of the detained workers and supporters had been freed.

Four detainees told reporters that they were treated harshly in detention, with police threatening them with death and saying that they would not be released unless they confessed.

The workers’ accounts jibe with stories from detained advocates in other incidents and follow an established pattern of Chinese police interrogation, Amnesty International Hong Kong-based researcher Patrick Poon (潘嘉偉) said.

The detentions have become an even greater rallying cry for the activists.

“What started out as a labor dispute turned into unfair dismissals and police abuse, which has galvanized supporters from both around the country and around the world,” Shen said on Monday last week, before her disappearance.

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