China: Harassment of the Dagongzhe Centre Continues

In November 2007, an activist and former migrant worker from the Dagongzhe Labour Centre, was brutally assaulted and left in critical condition after repeatedly being stabbed ([see previous OnLine->art2708). The ITUC expressed its concern for Mr. Huang as well as its concern over a number of violent attacks on civil society organisations promoting the Labour Contract law to migrant workers in Guangdong province and other regions in China.

The ITUC has been following the situation of Mr. Huang and the Dagongzhe Centre ever since. The reaction of the All China Federation of Trade Unions and the measures taken by the Shenzhen government, such as the prosecuting of the suspected offenders, were reassuring signs at the time.

Unfortunately, according to the information received by the ITUC, harassment of the Dagongzhe Centre has not ceased in the last three years. On top of this, the last update on the situation of Mr. Huang and the Dagongzhe Centre raises questions as to the full application of the law.

In a letter sent to XU Qin, mayor of the Shenzhen Muncipality, the ITUC urges the authorities to ensure that the legal provisions of the relevant legislation are strictly followed, and that the punishment is strictly enforced in the case against Mr. Huang’s aggressors.

“We know that the Dagongzhe Centre staff is still being harassed by unidentified persons since the assault took place,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary. “They are under unacceptable pressure. The authorities must take responsibility and all necessary measures to rectify these problems and ensure protection of civil society groups,” she added.

The ITUC, once again, would like to highlight the need for the Chinese government to respect the right of workers to form and join free and independent trade unions, to recognise the important role of civil society groups and the importance of the respect of the core labour standards.