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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

Protest Violent Attacks on Workers' Rights Center in Shenzhen, China

Posted to the IUF website 30-Nov-2007

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International trade union organizations, including the IUF and other global union federations and the ITUC, have joined with the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and civil society and worker rights groups in Hong Kong to condemn repeated violence against the Dagongzhe (DGZ) Center in Shenzhen, China. The Center provides legal advice, education and support to migrant workers. Recently it has been active around the new "Labour Contract Law" scheduled to come into force in January 2008, which will in principle provide greater employment security to migrants and "temporary" workers with continuous employment records. Tensions have been rising in Shenzhen and in the Pearl River delta region generally with increasing reports of violence and intimidation against workers protesting layoffs or unpaid wages by employers seeking to evade their obligations before the new law comes into effect.

Twice before, on October 11 and November 14 this year, the center has been violently ransacked. The second attack - carried out in view of local police - devastated the center's premises and equipment.

The DGZ Shenzhen worker rights center was thoroughly devastated on November 14 - in plain view of local police.

On November 20, the Center's legal representative Huang Qingnan was assaulted by two men armed with knives and seriously injured. Hospitalized in critical condition, Huang may lose a limb as a result of the multiple knife wounds.

Supporters of worker rights in China fear that these attacks could lead to a broader assault on labour rights and civil groups across China if there is no official investigation and legal proceedings to punish the perpetrators. With union support the Hong Kong labour rights group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) have organized a peitition to the central and local authoraties, demanding that the government openly condemn and investigate the attacks on the Center and on Huang Qingnan, assist the Center in reopening and continuing its work, provide medical care and rehabilitation for Huang Qingnan and improve protection for civil groups. You can endorse the petition by sending an e-mail message to SACOM. Signatures will be delivered on December 12.

The coalition is also seeking to raise USD 2,700 for an operation needed to save Huang's left leg. To make a contribution, please contact SACOM at the e-mail above.

You can also send an e-mail with similar demands to Mr. Xu Zhongheng, Mayor of Shenzhen.