Joint Statement: Release Fu Changguo Now!

In a Xinhua news report published on 25th August, Shenzhen Dagongzhe Workers’ Centre (DGZ) is accused of actively involving in the JASIC protest with financial support from abroad. Huang Qingnan, the legal person of DGZ, was released on bail on 5th September and sent back to his hometown in Fujian. However, it has been over 30 days since Fu Changguo, another staff member of DGZ, was detained since 11th August.

 

Huang Qingnan was in Fujian the whole time when the JASIC incident developed. He was taken to Shenzhen and put under detention on 13th August, although released on bail 23 days later. There is neither proof of Huang’s participation in the JASIC incident nor violation of law. We urge the Shenzhen Police to clear his charge and close the case in due course.

 

Prior to being held on 10th August, Fu Changguo had already been summoned by the police for four times (on 25th July, 26th July, 4th August and 7th August respectively). He was questioned about the JASIC incident in detail, and was asked not to involve in supporting JASIC workers. Since the breakout of the workers’ protest, what Fu has done is merely circulating news about the protest and links to fundraising sites in a Wechat group of workers, as well as visiting the protest scene once as an observer.

 

As the labour law consultant of the worker centre, Fu went to the JASIC factory to learn more about the incident, in which workers’ rights are intruded, simply because of its relevance to his job duties. He had never involved in organizing workers nor their supporters. Circulating news in a Wechat group, as accused by the Xinhua news report, is by no means comparable to spreading rumours online and picking trouble, thus far from “radicalising the incident”. What Fu has been forwarding since July are all news and links to fundraising sites released by supporters of JASIC workers, which are real and forwarded by many others.

 

We urge the Pingshan branch of the Shenzhen Police to respect Fu’s legal rights during detention, as he has been denied access to lawyers until now. It is also demanded that Fu be released and his case closed immediately, after finding out his actions during the JASIC incident indeed involves no crime nor harm to the society. According to the Criminal Procedure Law of the People’s Republic of China, the public security organ should submit a request for examination and approval to the People’s Procuratorate within 30 days of detention only with a valid charge on an individual. We urge the Procuratorate to take facts and evidence into thorough consideration, and then disapprove the request for arrest.

 

Worker Empowerment and the Dagongzhe Workers’ Centre are in long-term partnership with frequent collaborations. Established in 2000, DGZ operates under a business license, registered as Dagongzhe Shangdian (Migrant Workers’ Shop), but has been constantly attempting to register as either a social organization or a private non-enterprise unit. DGZ has been serving the community for over 10 years, running a free legal consultation telephone hotline, as well as face-to-face consultation, which benefit around 500 workers per year. DGZ actively promotes legal knowledge for workers by outreach programmes and labour law workshops in industrial zones, equipping workers with legal knowledge in case of illegal exploitation by employers. It also provides activities such as Labour Day commemorative activities, movie screenings and hiking trips.

 

Like thousands of other non-profit organizations in China, the operation of DGZ is constantly under threat. In 2007, thugs hired by factory owners deliberately damaged facilities of DGZ, as well as violently assaulted Huang Qingnan, a staff member at that time, leading to his permanent disabilities. Over the years, DGZ has also been evicted by landlords and compelled to relocate for numerous times. In face of the difficulties, DGZ persists in serving migrant workers in Shenzhen with good intentions, driven by no conspiracy of disrupting social order. We urge the Shenzhen authorities to support DGZ and other organizations of similar sort instead of suppressing them. 

 

Shenzhen Dagongzhe Workers’ Centre

Worker Empowerment