All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU)
10 Fuxingmenwai St., Beijing, PROC
Dear Mr. Li:
The Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) – Center of United and Progressive Workers (Center) – is a national labor center in the Philippines which is comprised of trade unions and other workers’ organizations in the private, public, informal and migrant sectors. It is also a member of the country’s largest labor coalition called Nagkaisa (United).
We were informed by our colleagues in the international trade union movement of the ongoing Chinese government’s crackdown on independent labor rights NGOs and activists in Guangdong province, a major manufacturing hub in southern China, since early December last year. We learned that more than 20 staff and volunteers from at least four organizations – Panyu Migrant Workers Service Center, Laborer Mutual Aid Group, Foshan Nanfeiyan Social Work Services Organization and Haige Workers Center – were apprehended by the authorities, and about seven of them have reportedly remained in police custody: Zeng Feiyang, Zhu Xiaomei, Tang Jian, Meng Han, Peng Jiayong, He Xiaobo, Deng Xiaoming.
Sentro is aware of the Chinese government’s allegations against these workers’ advocates which range from the anticipated but arbitrary charge of “disturbance of social order” to the dubious “embezzlement.” However, what they are doing is not at all “seditious” or “illegal” – helping uplift the terms and conditions of the workers in Guangdong, which should have even been supported by the government in the first place, especially because promoting and protecting workers’ rights are enshrined in the Chinese Constitution.
We respectfully urge ACFTU, as China’s officially recognized workers’ organization as well as for being a titular member of the ILO’s Workers Group, to defend the ILO basic labor rights to freedom of association or right to organize and to collective bargaining (Convention Nos. 87 and 98) by imploring the Chinese government to: (1) promptly release all the detained labor activists; (2) stop the clampdown against labor activists and organizations and other related civil society groups; and (3) respect and protect the fundamental rights of all Chinese workers.