Archive for the 'Organisational Updates' Category

Statement from Hong Kong Labour Groups on the Prosecution of Labour Activists in Guangdong

Statement from Hong Kong Labour Groups on the Prosecution of Labour Activists in Guangdong

16th July, 2016

Guangdong labour activists Zeng Feiyang, Meng Han, Zhu Xiaomei and Tang Huanxing, who were arrested by Chinese police on 3rd December, 2015, were charged with “disturbing social order” by the People’s Procuratorate of Panyu District, Guangzhou Municipality in June and will be on trial in the near future.

In the December incident, more than 50 activists were interrogated and seven were detained or went missing. This prosecution is part of President Xi’s crackdown on labour activists and gravely threatens the survival of civil society in China. The detained were denied the right to meet with their lawyers. Relatives of the detained appointed lawyers to meet with the activists in detention, but police turned down their requests, either claiming that the activists had already hired their defense lawyers or without providing any reasons or documentary proof at all. Zeng Feiyang was not allowed to see his lawyer for six months and in the meantime was slandered in government controlled media. Worse yet, relatives of activists have been surveilled in their homes, violently harassed or verbally threatened.

We believe that the Guangdong police’s actions trampled on the judicial principles of fairness and justice, violated the basic rights of the activists, and seriously violated domestic Chinese law. Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence”; Article 14 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that arrested persons have the right to “defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing”. “Own choosing” must be an autonomous decision made by the persons involved without threats, coercion or capitulation. The Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment expressly stipulate that any detained person “shall be entitled to have the assistance of a legal counsel” and “communicate and consult with his legal counsel.” The Constitution of People’s Republic of China states that “the accused has the right to defence”. Article 14 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China states that “the public security organs shall safeguard the procedural rights to which participants in court proceedings are entitled according to law.” Article 33 states that “he or his close relatives may file an application with the legal aid agency for help.”

International society will not forget the arrested activists. The four labour activists are now going to trial. On account of the violations of the arrested activists’ basic rights and the harassment and surveillance of their families by the Guangdong Police, we make the following public statement:

  1. It is legitimate for workers to defend their rights and seek social support when their rights are undermined. Even if this induces losses for a factory, the workers are not guilty of “disturbing public order”. Workers’ have rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, which should be respected. Their actions to defend their rights should not be considered crimes.
  2. The Ministry of Public Security should act on its responsibilities for oversight and ensure Guangdong police protect the four activists’ rights in accordance with the abovementioned international covenants and domestic laws, which are recognized by the PRC government. The arrested persons’ rights to access effective assistance, to freely choose their own legal counsel, and to have the legal counsel appointed by their relatives fully exercise the right to defend them through to the end of the trail must be protected.
  3. The People’s Procuratorate of Guangzhou Municipality and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate should fulfill their judicial obligations of oversight by refusing to tolerate any illegal behaviour in this case. Anyone abusing their power in this case should be investigated and punished according to law.
  4. We, concerned members of civil society, will closely monitor this case. We demand that this politically motivated case be dropped and all labour right activists must be released immediately.

Signed by:
Asia Monitor Resource Centre
China Labour Bulletin
The editorial committee of Red Balloon Solidarity
Globalization Monitor
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
Labour Action China
Labour Education and Service Network
Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour
Worker Empowerment

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web admin on July 16th 2016 in Organisational Updates

Report Release: “Suppliers Escaped: Disney Abandoned Mizutani Toy Makers Viciously”



Mizutani (Shenzhen) Toy Factory Co. Ltd., a Hong Kong-registered enterprise producing for Tokyo Disneyland since 1997, announced its sudden closure and relocation to the Philippines in June 2015. A total of 9 million yuan of severance compensation, social insurance and housing provident fund payments covering 196 employees has been in arrears. The livelihood of Mizutani workers, among which a lot of them are middle-aged and find looking for a new job challenging, is seriously affected by the sudden change.

Worker Empowerment (WE) and the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) have been assisting Mizutani workers in their protests against Mizutani and Disney and subsequent rounds of negotiations. So far Mizutani simply agree to settle the dispute with one tenth of the compensation to which workers are entitled according to the Labour Contract Law and Social Insurance Law, and workers refuse to accept such an unlawful compensation. Disney in Japan and USA has remained silence since a symbolic meeting with WE and HKCTU in mid-July 2015, regardless of repeated demands for their intervention.

This case demonstrates how Disney has failed to fulfill its corporate responsibility. The report titled “Suppliers Escaped: Disney Abandoned Mizutani Toy Makers Viciously” jointly published by WE and HKCTU aims at disclosing how Mizutani and Disney violate Chinese labour regulations and its betrayal to frontline workers. It is important for the general public, especially customers of Disney-branded products, to pay attention to workers’ suffering behind them.

The full report is available here, with an executive summary.

Key findings include:

1. By underpaying social insurance contribution, severance compensation and unlawfully dismissing workers, Mizutani has violated China’s Labour Contract Law and Social Insurance Law.

2. The livelihood of 196 Mizutani workers has been severely affected by the sudden factory closure. Most of these middle-aged workers have served in Mizutani for 10-20 years and seeking new jobs would be a big challenge for them. Missing social insurance contribution would leave them no pension and this would create serious trouble when they retire.

3. Walt Disney Co.’s International Labour Standards Programme requires all its suppliers to follow local laws, they are specifically required not to threaten workers and respect freedom of association (including rights to organize and collective bargaining). However, it has ignored Mizutani’s grave violations of the above-mentioned labour rights, including:

a. Violations of Chinese labour legislations: Mizutani is moving to the Philippines and is financially sound. Yet, it deliberately violates Labour Contract Law and Social Insurance law and owes workers some 9 million Yuan.
b. Rejection of collective negotiation: since the announcement of the closure of the factory, workers had requested to negotiate with Mizutani but it refused.
c. Denial of workers’ rights to organize: out of desperate, workers launched a strike and road blockage. They were violently taken away by riot police and 23 workers were detained.
d. Refusal of paying severance compensation and threatening workers to “voluntarily resign”: when it announced to close its Shenzhen plant in June 2015, it forced workers to sign “voluntary resignation agreements”.

4. Walt Disney Co. has been informed of these labour rights violations and the dispute at Mizutani through formal complaint and media exposure, yet it has only reacted to this dispute through emails, phone calls and a non-constructive meeting. Until now, no formal investigation has been seen and no solution has been provided to these violations.

We strongly demand for the following actions of Mizutani and Disney:

1. Disney must investigate the case and fulfill its commitment to workers’ rights across the supply chain and help the Mizutani workers reclaim their missing compensation in the wake of the company’s abrupt factory closure in June 2015.
2. Mizutani unilaterally terminated workers’ labour contracts. By law, it should pay double severance compensation and Disney should pay the missing part of the compensation, which should be calculated by wages payable.
3. Mizutani must pay the missing premiums of workers’ social insurance and housing provident fund since their dates of commencement.


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web admin on April 25th 2016 in Organisational Updates, Research Reports

About the Development of Labour NGOs – Letter to the Provincial Government of Guangdong and the Municipal Government of Shenzhen

About the Development of Labour NGOs – Letter to the Provincial Government of Guangdong and the Municipal Government of Shenzhen
9th September, 2012

Since February, over a dozen of
labour NGOs in Shenzhen, including Shenzhen Chunfeng Labour Disputes Services Center, Shenzhen Yuan Dian Labour Service Center, Dagongzhe Migrant Workers’ Center (Shenzhen), Worker Online (also known as QingCao), Shi-Dai-Nu-Gong, Hand-in-Hand Migrant Workers’ Center, Little Grass Workers’ Home, have been suffering from inquisitions of multiple authorities, such as the Administration of Industry and Commerce, the Administration of Taxation, the Administration of Work Safety, the Fire Department, the Administration of Social Security, the Administration of Housing, the Administration of Labour Supervision, etc. Besides these inquisitions, the landlords of the labour NGOs’ offices have terminated tenancy contracts before the expiry or threatened the NGOS to move away, using all sorts of uncanny excuses and force in some instances. Regarding the harassment simply as rental disputes, the police took no action to stop it nor facilitated the NGOs for any legal procedure. Instead, the staff of some NGOs was even dispersed by the police when petitioning to the Municipal Party Committee. In all these years, these NGOs have been working very hard to provide work safety training, consultation services, cultural and art programs, as well as other legal and social services to workers. These services and the regular operation of the NGOs have been paralyzed by now. Up to now, great concern and support has been shown to what has happened to these labour NGOs.

We are a group of academics from the field of social sciences. We believe that the current situation is far from normal
. We would like to express our concern and opinions to the provincial and municipal government in the below.

1. In July, 2011, the ‘Decision of the CCPC and People’s Government of Guangdong on Strengthening Social Construction’ (the Decision) was passed in the Ninth Plenary of the 10th CPC Committee of Guangdong Province. It was followed by the account given by Comrade Zhu Mingguo which elaborates the relationship between economic construction and civil society building, the urgency of civil society development and reform, as well as the importance of nurturing social organizations. The public reacted positively, acknowledging the significant exploration in civil society administration and development in Guangdong. Under the spirit of the Decision, constructive relations and collaborations have begun between the municipal trade union federation of Guangzhou and some of the labour NGOs. This is however baffled by what happened in Shenzhen recently which is, in our opinion, a turning back on the the Decision. If the NGOs have violated the law, they deserve rectification. Yet, irregular administrative intervention was taken without a sound reason and a legal ground. Is it what we should expect from the provincial and municipal government? The practices of the local government of Shenzhen, taken in the eve of the change of the leadership of the 18th CPC Central Committee, are damaging the harmonious labour relation and image of the government.

2. The emergence of labour NGOs, (including labour rights organizations), is inevitable in history. It is the freedom to associate as promised in the constitution. Regardless of the government’s position, labour NGOs would flourish and grow since there is a huge gap between the pressing needs of the working mass predominated by the new generation of migrant workers, and the services provided by the current trade unions. And as long as the power between the employers and employees is imbalanced, labour disputes become severer day after day. As for the government, the wise choice to make is to take the opportunity, administer the labour NGOs by law and promote their development for the mutual benefits of employees, employers and the society. This has been demonstrated in the experiences of many developed countries.

The emergence and development of labour NGOs is a leap in history as they shoulder enormous social responsibility which is beyond the capacity of government to take, such as resolving labour conflicts and providing needed services to workers. Based in the civil society, the public-interest oriented, non-profiting making and grass-root nature of the labour NGOs provide them with unique advantage over the government and the administrative-driven trade unions. The labour NGOs have also demonstrated their unique function in relieving social pressure and lessening social conflicts. If labour NGOs have a chance to take part in public management effectively, the needs of workers would be expressed more effectively, the communication and negotiation amongst different strata of the society would be more comprehensive. Through active engagement with the NGOs, the reforms of the trade union such as separation from the administration, democratization and consolidation of the mass base of the trade union could also be speeded up, leading to its transformation to becoming the genuine representative and defender of workers’ interests.

. The lack of labour organization in a society always brings disastrous aftermath. The mass incidents broken out amongst the migrant workers in Zhengchen and Guxiang in Guangdong province demonstrate that the new generation of migrant workers’ expectation on public services is getting more and more vigorous. Without labour NGOs acting between the government and the disadvantaged, it is hard for the government to find the target and channel to begin any rational negotiation in the middle of a labour dispute or a strike. Between the government and the un-organised people, more channels viewed as un-biased should be found in order to maintain social stability. Indeed greater frustration would be provoked if the government only knows to rely on the state machine to maintain stability. The rational people are able to organize and manage themselves. On the other hand, dis-organised people are vulnerable to tides and using violence as they do not have the means to protect their genuine interests. The result is damaging to the social structure.

. The legitimacy of labour NGOs should not be solely determined by the government and the trade union. Nor should they treat the NGOs based on the ‘contact, utilize and convert’ principle with the intention of using, promoting and offering protection to some favoured organizations, and remodeling, suppressing, banning the dis-favoured ones. The benchmark of judgment on NGOs should be genuine protection of the rights of workers, the support of workers for the organisation, the promotion of mutual benefits and harmonious labour relation. The government and the trade union may have their stance. This should better be taken under a framework of laws on labour NGO regulation adopted by the National People’s Congress after thorough discussion amongst the government, the employers, employees and the society. A legal framework as such shall be the basis of future government regulation on the NGOs.

. Currently, the most pressing task is to enforce the Decision by means of ministerial regulations on particular areas of social administration. This shall provide the legal basis and fundamental support to the development of social organizations in Guangdong province. We hereby make two recommendations.

) The un-reasonable harassment on labour NGOs taken by the local government departments and authorities should be stopped immediately. The operation, offices and facilities of those labour NGOs which were forced to close down or move out from their locations should be resumed.

) A platform which includes the participation of the government, the trade union, the employers, workers, the labour NGOs, the academics and representatives of different strata of the society should be created to discuss about the appropriate regulation on labour NGOs. Based on the discussion, the National People’s Congress of the Shenzhen municipality and the Guangdong province should proceed to stipulate laws accordingly that cover labour NGO establishment and registration, the rights and duties, the content, scope and modes of NGOs’ activities, as well as the legal responsibility etc. This should offer all the involved parties with the legal ground to follow and to rectify abuses in order to reform the social administration in Guangdong province by law and develop social organizations.

he reform in Guangdong and Shenzhen has earned the government reputation, credibility and legitimacy. At the crossroad between expansion of government or promotion of the society, the Decision endorsed by the top authority of Guangdong province has already given us the answer. However, the all-round administrative role has stereotyped the local government departments, implanting them with defensiveness, making them believe that administration over the society must be secured in the hands of the government. Such mentality has led them astray from the reality. Indeed, the separation of our people from the units and the land has yielded much to be taken care of in the society. The vast blankness could be filled only if the government delegates power to social organizations. The more effective the social organizations are, the less the government has to do in releasing the social pressure. The challenge ahead lies in the genuine enforcement of the spirit of Decision amongst the local government departments. They should walk away from the administration-dependent model and concede more space to the social organizations. Only by speeding up the reform of social administration and development of social organization, establishing a legal, policy and support system could we truly stimulate the strength for sustainable development of the society.

Co-signed by:

Chen Min (Xiao Shu), Current Affairs and Politics Commentator, Member of
the Editorial Board of Yan Huang Chun Qiu
Yuan Yang, Economist
Zhang Lifan, Historian
Ye Kangzheng, poet, cultural study scholar
Shen Yuan, Sociologist, Professor of Tsinghua University
Guo Yuhua, Sociologist, Professor of Tsinghua University
Lu Huilin, Sociologist, Associate Professor of Beijing University
Pun Ngai, Deputy Director of Research Centre for Social Work, Beijing University, Professor of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Sociologist
Duan Yi, Director of Shenzhen Laowei Law Firm, professes in labour law
Chang Kai, Professor of Renmin University of China, professes in labour law
Wang Keqin, news reporter
Wang Junxiu, independent scholar
Wang Changcheng, Professor of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Scholar of labour and social securities, professes in labour relations
Chan Kin-man, Director of Centre for Civil Society Studies; Associate Professor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sociologist
Liu Jianfeng, Reporter
Teng Biao, Lecturer of China University of Political Science and Law, Legal Scholar
Xiao Xuehui, professes in Ethics
Feng Xiliang, Professor of Capital University of Economics and Business, professes in labour sociology
Wang Jiangsong (the author of the letter), Professor of China Institute of Industrial Relations, professes in labour theory and labour culture

(Listed according to the order of signing this letter)

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web admin on September 20th 2012 in Organisational Updates

Petition Letter: Please confirm the legitimate work of NGOs and support their continued development

The Provincial Government of Guangdong, the Municipal Government of Shenzhen, the Municipal Government of Dongguan.
Wang Yang, Secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Wang Rong, Secretary of the Shenzhen Municipal Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Xu Jianhua, Secretary of the Dongguan Municipal Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China.

Please confirm the legitimate work of NGOs and support their continued development

Last July, the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee approved the Decision on Strengthening Social Construction, which states that, as of 1 July this year, civil society groups in Guangdong can register directly with the Department of Civil Affairs. This lowering of the registration threshold was considered by many to be an innovative reform. However, over the last few months, many Shenzhen-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) helping to defend workers’ rights have come under pressure and were forced to close down. These organizations have consistently provided migrant workers with legal assistance, education, training and social services. They act as a voice for and defender of the long over-looked rights and interests of migrant workers. We call on local governments to halt the suppression of these NGOs and acknowledge their legitimate work.

We understand that the Shenzhen Spring Wind Labour Dispute Service Centre, the Time Women Workers Centre, the Yuandian Workers Centre, the Dagongzhe Migrant Worker Centre, the Green Grass Workers Centre, the Little Grass Workers’ Home and the Dongguan Youwei Workers Centre have, as a result of local government pressure, been forced to relocate, suffered harassment, had their utilities cut off, undergone sudden tax inspections, and even seen workers participating in their activities being threatened. This pressure has forced these groups to close down.

In February 2012, just three months into a three year rental contract for its office in

Shenzhen’s Bao’an district, the Spring Wind Labour Dispute Service Centre was told by its landlord that the rental contract had been cancelled, the water and electricity was cut off and its signs taken down. They were strongly urged to leave.

In March 2012, the Yuandian Workers Centre was inspected by numerous local government departments and the landlord issued a notice of contract termination.

In April, the Dagongzhe Migrant Worker Centre suffered surveillance and interference by unidentified individuals, after which the landlord terminated the rental agreement and the utilities were cut off. Dagongzhe’s representative Huang Qinnan was brutally attacked in 2007, and the centre was forced to relocate in 2008 and 2010.

In May, the Green Grass Workers Centre was subject to numerous local government inspections and was informed by the landlord of the termination of the rental agreement.

In June, the Time Women Workers Centre was the victim of selective law enforcement by the Industry and Commerce department, which ordered it to close down and relocate because it had not registered.

At the same time, the Little Grass Workers’ Home suffered numerous local government inspections and was informed by the landlord that their rental agreement would be terminated ahead of schedule. Moreover, two fulltime staff had their residential leasing agreements cancelled in quick succession.

And in July, the Dongguan Youwei Workers Center was informed by the landlord that the rental agreement would be cancelled. The landlord complained of repeated police harassment. Afterwards, the group’s bank account was frozen because of an investigation by the local tax authorities.

We can see from the above incidents that the Shenzhen and Dongguan governments’ monitoring of NGOs has not relaxed; on the contrary, they have engaged in multifaceted oppression. Many people working in labour organisations have also complained of harassment by local governments, placing intangible pressures on their work. These consecutive moves by local governments against labour groups, we believe, gives the impression that the policies of the provincial government have been subverted, and that the Spring Wind of Guangdong’s reforms is now bringing in a bitter winter.

We urge the Guangdong provincial government to respond to this suppression of labour groups and implement its more relaxed policy for the registration of civil society groups. Respect civil and labour rights and allow public interest groups the space to develop.

Asia Monitor Resource Centre
China Labour Bulletin
The Chinese Working Women Network
Globalization Monitor
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee
Hong Kong Catholic Committee for Justice and Peace
IHLO (Hong Kong Liaison Office of the International Trade Union Movement)
Labour Action China
Labour Education and Service Network
The Labour Party (Hong Kong)
Neighbourhood Workers Service Centre
Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehaviour
Worker Empowerment

15 August 2012

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web admin on September 11th 2012 in Organisational Updates

Labour NGO crackdown in Shenzhen (latest update: 25-9-2012)

In recent months, a number of grassroot labour NGOs in Shenzhen have been facing crackdown in different degrees. Dagongzhe Centre, Worker Empowerment’s partner organisation in Shenzhen, was forced to move by the landlord in April 2012, and was cut water and electricity supply for 2 months. After several attempts of petition by the staff and supportive workers, the centre did not manage to stay and resorted to move to a new location in July 2012.

Apart from Dagongzhe centre, 6 other labour NGOs have been facing similar situations. This does not comply with the new policy direction of social management boosted in Guangdong in recent years. The dim future of civil society development in Guangdong has aroused concern from both domestic and overseas media, and reports in English include the following –

27-07-2012     South China Morning Post: Guangdong shuts down at least seven labour NGOs
28-07-2012     Wall Street Journal: Labor NGOs in Guangdong Claim Repression
13-08-2012     In These Times: Chinese Labor Activists Get Shut Out, But Won’t Shut Up
16-08-2012     Bloomberg BNA: Labor NGOs Face Tough Times in Guangdong; Group Alleges Child Labor, Corruption in Factory Audits
02-09-2012 Global Post: Government crackdown on labor groups worsens in South China
10-09-2012     AFP: Crackdown on China Workers’ Rights Groups
24-09-2012 Wall Street Journal: Hon Hai Riot Highlights Squeeze on Chinese Manufacturers

Further discussion –
Ivan Franceschini: Another Guangdong Model: Labour NGOs and New State Corporatism
Hsiao-hung Pai: China, the View from the Ground

Petition letters –
International Scholars Call on Guangdong Government to Stop Repression Against Labour NGOs
Open Letter by a group of Hong Kong-based labour organisations: Please confirm the legitimate work of NGOs and support their continued development
Open Letter by a group of Chinese Academics: About the Development of Labour NGOs – Letter to the Provincial Government of Guangdong and the Municipal Government of Shenzhen
Statement from War on Want: Crackdown on Labour Organisations in China

For more articles in Chinese, please refer to the Chinese version of our website.

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web admin on August 20th 2012 in Media Coverage, Organisational Updates, What's New

Two Years to Fight for a Fair Trial and Verdict for Huang Qingnan and Shenzhen Worker Centre, China

Worker Empowerment  E-newsletter issue 12/2009
30thDecember, 2009
Two Years to Fight for a Fair Trial and Verdict for Huang Qingnan and Shenzhen Worker Centre, China


It has been two years since China labor activist Huang Qingnan almost lost his leg to an attack on 20 November 2007. The founder person of the Dagongzhe Migrant Worker Centre (hereafter DGZ) in Shenzhen China was attacked in broad daylight for his work educating migrant workers about their labor rights.

It has been two years to fight for a fair trial and verdict for Huang Qingnan and DGZ with the persistent support from the general public and various international groups in condemning the violent attacks, endorsing the statement, writing letters, donating to and visiting DGZ and Huang Qingnan. All of the solidarity has made it possible for DGZ and Huang Qingnan to go through the most difficult period. However, in the past 2 years, the situation on DGZ and Huang Qingnan has still been tough.

The result of the second verdict on Huang Qingnan was still disappointing. In July 2009, the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court gave a lenient punishment on the murderer and the master mind while refused to recognize Huang Qingnan’s condition as the level 6 disability as the first verdict. The murderer and the master mind were reduced their penalties from 5-years imprisonment to 4-years imprisonment, 5-year imprisonment to 4-years imprisonment respectively. One of the criminals had been released in August. Based on the excuse that the disability identifications on Huang were invalid, the court only ruled the compensation claims on the medical and several minor expenditures on Huang Qingnan with a lump sum of RMB96,869.89. The disability compensation, cost on disability-aid tools, living subsidesand psychological damages were dismissed. Six months have gone by, however, Huang is yet to receive the compensation.

In August 2009, DGZ and Huang Qingnan were constantly under various kinds of harassment by unknown people. Huang Qingnan’s vehicle was deliberately punctured while he was out for work. On the same day, two notices displayedat DGZ were torn off by unknown persons. DGZ urgently decided Huang Qingnan to withdraw from the frontline duties in Shenzhen to protect his personal safety, while DGZ continues to struggle for daily labour services. DGZ reported these intimidations to the local Police and the Authorities but received no reply at all. Since then DGZ has been receiving sexual harassing phone calls by unknown males.

In September 2009, Huang’s appeal to the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court for retrial was rejected. It then puts the case in deadlock. According to the second verdict, the master mind will be released in the coming January. Early this August, DGZ was told the master mind has spent 1 million and got released.

Worker Empowerment believes the rejection of Huang’s level 6 disability certification is violating the legal regulations and provisions. The continuous intimidations towards DGZ demonstrates the ineffectiveness of theChinese laws and its implementation in protecting the most in need. In contrast, they are helplessly exposing to violence.

Worker Empowerment will continue the fight for social and legal justice for Huang Qingnan and the working people in China. In this regards, Worker Empowerment would like to urge friends, brothers and sisters of international community for continuous support.

Please contact us by for details.

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web admin on February 9th 2010 in Newsletter, Organisational Updates

Demand for fair and open trial International and Hong Kong Civil Community watch the assault on the legal person of Dagongzhe Centre

Press Release


Demand for fair and open trialInternational and Hong Kong Civil Community watch the assault on the legal person of Dagongzhe Centre 

Around 15 representatives of international and Hong Kong labour and civil organizations were packed in the Shenzhen Longgang People’s Court for the hearing of Huang Qingnan’s attack case. The attendees showed the full support to the victim and urged for a fair and open trial, severe penalty against the attackers in according to the law.

The labour organization under attacks is called “Dagongzhe Centre (DGZ Centre)”, which registered as “company” in Longgang District of Shenzhen city. With funding from overseas, it provides free library, labour law education and consultation to the migrant workers in the neighbourhood community. On 20 Nov 2007, the legal person of the centre, Huang Qingnan was attacked by two assassinators with knives, at the street behind the centre, when he was on his way for work. His back, waist, left leg were stabbed and left him wounds more than 10 centimetres long. His left leg has the worst cuts. His muscle, bones, blood vessels, and nerves were cut apart. He has recovered with permanent handicapped on his left leg. 

According to the court, the master mind Zhong Wei Qi, one of the five suspects, is a local influential resident who owns several plants and plant premises. According to the Court, he considered that the publicity of Labour Contract Law by DGZ Centre impacting his business negatively. He then retaliated by deploying the attack. 

The court trial has been delayed unusually.

The five suspects have been detained since January 2008 while the trial was not started according to the law. The suspects asked the court many times to reassess Huang Qingnan’s disability. On the other hand, someone was found shooting Huang Qingnan’s daily living without his consent. Two weeks ago, the Shenzhen City Bureau of Justice delivered the statement, “Huang Qingnan’s disability is not qualified for grade 6, we cannot exactly determine his disability a severe one.”  This was to overturn Huang Qingnan’s grade 6 disability which was certified by the Shenzhen City Procuratorate and the Public Security Bureau early 2008. In the same time, Huang Qingnan’s application for employee injury certification was turned down by the Administrative Litigation.

Today, a small court that can only accommodate 16 people was arranged, the court, therefore, rejected the over 50 workers and representative from other civil groups and over 15 people from Hong Kong to sit in. But at the same time, the relative of suspects could enter the court without any obstruction. Huang and the lawyer request to change the court to a large one wit capacity of 100 people, but this request was rejected since the Court have to “ask for instruction from the supervising level”. The court offered two choices: to carry out the hearing while more than 60 people with Huang cannot go inside; or adjourn the trial. Since the court cannot offer a proper arrangement for an open trial, Huang can only chose to adjourn the trial.

Huang told that he was very disappointed and astounded by the rejection to have an open trial, and hope that the court can fix a date for trial as soon as possible, and carry out an open and fair trial that both side can have equal right to sit in the trial.

International community: grave concern on the fair trial and severe penalty according to the law

Asia Monitor and Resources Centre commented, “The case of justice for Huang Qingnan will strongly reflect whether the rule of law in China can protect its working citizens who are just struggling to receive what the law promises. Already 11 months have passed since solving Huang’s case. Such a delay in conducting the trial is unusual. The trial was arranged a few days after the Judicial Bureau of Shenzhen City sent a notice to the court overturn the appraisal result originally released by the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau. It raises a doubt whether some party is trying to influence the judgement. If so, the equity and fairness of the case will definitely suffer from the intervention.”

A spokesperson for the Ethical Trading Initiative, an alliance of companies, unions and NGOs working to improve the lives of workers, commented: “The government’s response to the violence against the Dagongzhe Center and Huang Qingnan will set a tone for the future.  If not resolved properly, this incident could undermine trust in the government and drive workers and employers to more extreme forms of conflict.  ETI sincerely hopes the courts will pursue those responsible for the attacks with justice and that the government will do its utmost to protect Chinese civil society from future violence.  Only by nurturing forms of conflict resolution that preserve a harmonious society will

China build a foundation for long term business growth.” After the incidents, DGZ Centre received enormous supports from international and Hong Kong civil community. Organizations such as Worker Empowerment, Labour Action in China, Asia Monitor and Resources Centre, Globalization Monitor that are running projects in China immediately launched an international appeal to urge the Shenzhen city government for stoppage of any form of violence towards the civil organizations and the staff as it is the basic civil rights enshrined in the laws. More than 70 organizations from different part of the world endorsed the appeal. The Brussels-based International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and its affiliates around the world have written to the Chinese authorityto express concern over Huang Qingnan’s attack and the harrassment of independant labour groups in general. Dominique Muller of the ITUC Hong Kong Liaison Office said, “The ITUC has written to Hu Jintao several times on this case and has asked for the appropriate investigation into the case along with the proper penalty for the offenders according to the law. Our concerns have been also conveyed to the local Chinese authorities. We will continue to support Huang Qingnan and all others peacefully working to improve labour rights and core freedoms.” Workers demand Government primary responsibility: labour rights protection in the Shenzhen

Luo, one of Shenzhen workers, sitting in the court for hearing, commented, “the factory employers of Longgang district very often use illegal means to deprive workers of overtime pay and economic (termination) compensation. The Labour Contract Law serves to protect worker’s rights but the employers violated the Law. I was beaten up when asking for back wages. Employers do not respect to the laws nor worker’s rights. Violence is their solution. This is absolutely not acceptable. I wish fair legal proceedings and severe punishment on the attackers as to enforce the respect to workers and the labour laws! “

By Asia Monitor Resources Centre; Globalisation Monitor; Labour Action in China; Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM); Worker Empowerment

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web admin on January 13th 2009 in Organisational Updates

Stop the Violence— Defend Labour Rights Lawful and Harsh Sentence to Assailants who attacked Labour Group


Mr. Xu Zhong Heng Mayor of Shenzhen City,

Mr. Liu Yu Pu, Secretary of the Shenzhen Municipal Party Committee

Mr. Deng Lian Ji, President, Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court

Mr. Bai Xin Chao. Procurator-General, Shenzhen People’s Procuratorate of Shenzhen City Court



7 November 2008

Stop the Violence— Defend Labour Rights

Lawful and Harsh Sentence to Assailants who attacked Labour Group

November 2007 was the “Black November” for everyone who supports labour rights. The Shenzhen Dagongzhe Migrant Worker Centre (hereafter DGZ Centre) suffered from a series of violent attacks: numerous men forced their way into DGZ Centre, smashed the facility inside and threatened the staff. Later on 20th November, the legal person (holder) of DGZ Centre, Huang Qingnan, was attacked by two assailants, which caused his left shank to be disabled permanently. As groups that promote labour rights and growth of civil organizations, we strongly condemn these violent, illegal actions against labour groups! On 3rd December, we submitted a statement endorsed by 76 Hong Kong and International labour groups to the Government of Shenzhen City, during a protest in front of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong, and urgently appealed for an intensive investigation into these violent attacks as soon as possible.


Eight months after this horrible attack, five suspects were finally prosecuted and brought to court, hence, we express our deep concern over the inquest. The main suspect, Zhong, is a local entrepreneur and landlord in the area where DGZ Centre is located. According to the information released, he is very influential in the community. Since he was discontented with the effort that DGZ Centre made to promote Labour Law to migrant workers nearby, he blamed the loss of rent on DGZ Centre and hired assailants to attack Huang.


The migrant workers in Shenzhen have contributed to the prosperity of the city in the last 20 years; however, they can never enjoy an equal return and status, and have to live in the margin of the society. Some of the unscrupulous factory owners ignore the law and regulation brazenly; tricks included underpayment, non-payment of overtime wages, baleful delay of industrial injury compensation, and even beating workers who attempted to reclaim their rights. However, the labour groups such as DGZ Centre, which strived to promote the laws and regulations tied in with the general policy of the Central Government in China, suffered from these violent attacks. We are indignant about these devilries of the assailants and the one who ordered them to do so behind the scene. Any modern civilized society should have zero tolerance to this evil act. While the Chinese Government is determined to stride towards the international society, we strongly believe that the Shenzhen Government has to disseminate an important message to these criminals: “Society will not patch up the guilt of any ruffian that infracts upon labour rights and civil groups by violent means!” during the hearing of this case.


Thus, we demand the Shenzhen authorities, to,

1.          In the case related to the attack against Huang, insure an impartial, open and independent hearing, and to make a reasonable an harsh sentence lawfully, hence to press down the trend of violence in order to safeguard the officers work in civil groups and uphold the justice;

2.          Ensure Huang receive reasonable and sufficient civil compensation as soon as possible, in order to maintain his living.


We also hope and expect that the Chinese Government can offer perdurable guarantee to the smooth operation of civil groups such as DGZ Centre, investigate and handle any violent action against workers and civil groups gravely, so that the international society can see her determination and concrete action against violence in the defense of labour rights. At the same time, we also hope and expect that the Chinese Government can extend and build up regular, equal channels to communicate with civil groups, in order to construct a harmonious society.


Initiated by: Asia Monitor Resource Centre; Globalisation Monitor; Labour Action China; Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM); Worker Empowerment

Endorsed by:

1.          Noise Co-op

2.          Ziteng

3.          Hong Kong Christian Institute

4.          Neighbourhood & Worker’s Service Centre 

5.          Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese

6.          Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

7.           ITUC/GUF/HKCTU/HKTUC Hong Kong Liaison Office

8.          Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association

9.          Catering And Hotels Industries Employees General Union

10.      Clothing Industry, Clerical and Retail Trade Employees General Union

11.      Hong Kong Catholic Institution Staff Association

12.      Cleaning Service Industry Workers Union

13.      Union Of Hong Kong Dockers

14.      Hong Kong Dumper Truck Drivers Association

15.      Concrete Industry Workers Union

16.      The Federation Of Hong Kong Transport Worker Organizations

17.      Ocean Park Employees Union

18.      Construction Site Workers General Union

19.      Industrial Relationships Institutes

20.      Student Christian Movement of Hong Kong

21.      People Demo

22.      Ziteng

23.      Neighbourhood & Worker’s Service Centre

24.      Transport And Logistics Workers Union

25.      Hong Kong Buildings Management And Security Workers General Union

26.      Midnight Blue

27.      League of Social Democrats

28.      Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee

29.      Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims (Hong Kong)

30.      China Labour Bulletin

31.      Peuples Solidaires (France)

32.      Committee for Asian Women, CAW

33.      Clean Clothes Campaign- Italian

34.      Clean Clothes Campaign International

35.      Transnationals Information Exchange-Asia

36.      Maquila Solidarity Network, MSN (Canada)

37.      Fair Labor Association

38.      National Industrial Workers Union Federation, SPN (Indonesia)

39.      Council of Work- and Environment-Related Patients’ Network of Thailand , WEPT (Thailand)

40.      Northern Labour Network(Thailand)

41.      The Human Right and Development Foundation, HRDF

42.      Independent Federation of Hotel and Allied Unions, FSPM (Indonesia)

43.      Information Labour Centre, LIPS (Indonesia)

44.      Kongres of Indonesia Trade Union Alliance, KASBI

45.      Japan Occupational Safety and Health Resource Centre, JOSHRC

46.      Tokyo Occupational Safety and Health Centre

47.      Kanagawa Occupational Safety and Health Centre

48.      Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation ,OSHE

49.      Labour Health CentreSouth Korea

50.      Coalition for Cambodia Apparel Democratic Workers Union , CCADWU

51.      National Institute of Labor Protection(Vietnam)

52.      The Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development, IOHSD(Philippines)

53.      Friends of Women Foundation (Thailand)

54.      General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions, GEFONT

55.      Occupational Health and Safety Center (Indonesia)

56.      Peoples Training and Research Center, PTRC (India)

57.      Taiwan Association for Victims of Occupational Injuries, TAVOI

58.      Won-jin Foundation for occupational diseased (South Korea)

59.      Macao Workers and People’s Spirit Association, MWPSA

60.      Yvonne Liu Suk Han (Hong Kong)

61.      Tam Oi Kwan(Hong Kong)

62.      Debby Chan (Hong Kong)

63.      Frankie Ng (Hong Kong)

64.      Ng koon Kwan (Hong Kong)

65.      Chow Ching (Hong Kong)

66.      Parkson Yeung Kin Bun (Hong Kong)

67.      Ivy Chan (Hong Kong)

68.      Tai Ngai Lung (Hong Kong)

69.      Kevin Lau (Hong Kong)

70.      Benny Chan (Hong Kong)

71.      Li Yiu Kee (Hong Kong)

72.      Yeung Shu Hung (Hong Kong)

73.      Yeung Kwok Hung(Hong Kong)

74.      Chan Chiu Wai(Hong Kong)

75.      Wong Yu Loy(Hong Kong)

76.      Promil Hung(Hong Kong)

77.      Parry Leung(Hong Kong)

78.      Kong Kwai Sang(Hong Kong)

79.      Au Yeung Tung(Hong Kong)

80.      Jess Chan(Hong Kong)

81.      Chan Hau Leung(Hong Kong)

82.      Prissy Leung(Hong Kong)

83.      Ban Lee(Hong Kong)

84.      Billy Hung(Hong Kong)

85.      Chow Sze Chung(Hong Kong)

86.      Leo Yiu(Hong Kong)

87.      So Sheung(Hong Kong)

88.      Li Sai Hung(Hong Kong)

89.      Hung Wai ying (Hong Kong)

90.      Chan Po Ying(Hong Kong)

91.      Chan King Chi (UK)

92.      Anita Chan Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies The Australian National University(Australia)

93.      Fergus Alexander (UK)

94.      Chloe Froissart, researcher at the School for Higher Studies in Social Sciences (France)

95.      Jean-Philippe Béja, Research Directo rat CNRS/CERI (France)

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web admin on January 13th 2009 in Organisational Updates

Updates on the Violent Attack to Huang & Dagongzhe Centre

Updates on the Violent Attack to HuangDagongzhe Centre Relocated and Returns to Routine Operation

Half year after the horrible attacks to Huang Qing-nan and the Shenzhen Dagongzhe Migrant Worker Centre (hereafter DGZ Centre), which is the close partner of Worker Empowerment (hereafter WE), WE will be in full support to its programmes, and striving for a return to the track and sound protection to the grassroot NGOs in China, join hands with the Centre and workers.

The Arrested Five Suspects Had Not Yet be Prosuceted, Continuous Effort is Needed for an Equitable Sentence

Huang Qing-nan was clasified as “serious injury” after the appeal to the Judiciary Department in April. The lawyer expected the prosecution would be processed in May or June. However, Huang has yet received any notice. The attack to Huang and the DGZ Centre is a serious threat to the local grassroot labour NGOs in China, and we believe that an equitable sentence should be ordered, so as to send out a warning to any animosity towards labour groups and prevent any similar incident again. (from happening again) International concern and support is proved helpful and we will continuous to update the international civil society for the progress.

Furthermore, Huang’s occupational injury status is turned down. The Shenzhen Labour and Social Securities Department determines that his injury was out of the jurisdiction of the DGZ Centre’s registration. Huang will soon launch an administrative litigation to flight for a fair justisification.

WE, at the same time, has assisted Huang in seeking for medical opinion on any useful treatments to his leg in Hong Kong. However, according to the doctor and physiotherapist, any further operation will be too risky and not worthy to him. Instead of operation, Huang received a one-month rehabilitation treatment in Songhua, Guangzhou in late April.

“I am suffered from seriuos pressure!” the Landlord told

At the Mid-March 2008, the DGZ Centre was shocked by the notice of the Landlord, he told that the rent contract will not be continued after this term expired.. He told anxiously that, “I am suffered from serious pressure!” and refused to explain the reason behind clearly. After one month of negotiation, and seeking for help from local union, the Landlord insisted his decision. DGZ Centre, had no alternative, but forced to move.

In May, the DGZ Centre was relocated to another industrial area, and has been returning to normal. It opens daily with 10 hours of services, including labour dispute consultation and different kinds of services and activities to the workers. The target of the Centre and WE in the near future is to re-build the Centre toward a mission of a worker-run organization for the labour rights and dignity.

Recent Activities of DGZ Centre

On the other hand, the DGZ Centre and WE had conducted an action research on Labour Contract Law with questionnaires and indepth interviews of Shenzhen workers. It aims to reflect the actual situation and problems faced by the workers after the Law came to effective on 1 Jan 2008. The research report has been sent to the government bodies together with the response to the open consultation of Labour Contract Law Implementation Ordinance. The report was also sent to labour concerned organizations in Shenzhen and Hong Kong as well. English version will be released by WE in the near future, please contact Suzanne Wu by for details or if you want a report copy.

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web admin on August 31st 2008 in Organisational Updates

Grateful Letter from Huang Qingnan and Dagongzhe Migrant Worker Centre

25th February, 2008.

Dear friends and groups all over the world,

Warm greeting from Shenzhen!

Since the violent attacks that targeted the Dagongzhe Migrant Worker Centre and me on October and November last year, we have gained a lot of support from friends and groups all over the world. We are so grateful to have your support in condemning the violent attacks, endorsing the statement, writing letters, donating to and visiting me. All of the solidarity has made it possible for DGZ Centre and me to pass the difficult period.

I have been discharged from the hospital since 10th January 2008, and most of the wounds have healed over; however, I still need to receive rehabilitation treatment for the left leg that had been injured most seriously. I have to rely on a walking stick, and cannot walk too long. If my physical condition allows, I may have another operation three months later.

In February 2008, the police announced that the case was solved, and five suspects were arrested and detained. The police claimed that the one who manipulated the attacks was a landlord, motivated by the loss of rent after a factory closure. However, the police also have claimed that this case is related to labour disputes. We hope that the police can provide more detailed information about the case. Meanwhile, we are very disappointed that the Shenzhen Municipal Government has never publicly condemned these serious violent attacks to labour organization and workers.

Since Chinese New Year, the DGZ Centre has re-opened with hours from 12:00 to 18:00 every day, to provide assistance to the workers. Unfortunately, part of the work of the DGZ Centre cannot be re-launched yet, such as the outreach labour law education, under the threat of violent attacks.

After these violent attacks, many friends have expressed concern about the future of DGZ Centre and me. First of all, I will definitely keep my commitment to be the registered person of the Centre, and the DGZ Centre will rejuvenate and struggle to the very end for workers’ rights.

Once again, please accept our heartfelt thanks to you!

In Soildarity,

Huang Qing-nan, and Staff of Dagongzhe Migrant Worker Centre

Written in Chinese and translated by Worker Empowerment

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web admin on August 31st 2008 in Organisational Updates