On 16 April, 2002, the government arrested one more leader of the mass workers' protest in Liaoyang, Gu Baoshu. Gu (37), is one of the representatives of the Liaoyang Ferro-alloy Factory workers who staged mass street protests against retrenchment in mid-March. Gu's arrest took place a day after he and several other representatives went to the city government complaints office to seek the release of four leaders who had been arrested earlier. In order to avoid further arrests, the workers decided against further street protests, but instead sent several representatives, including Gu, to negotiate with the government. Nevertheless, the workers' caution and attempt to enter into negotiations failed to prevent Gu's arrest.
Gu escaped earlier detention on 20 March when he went inside the city's government office to demand release of the workers' leader, Yao Fuxin, who was the first of the organizers to be detained. Gu was held in custody in an office but was freed from the premises by over 100 fellow workers. On the same day, when the protesting workers went home from their demonstration, the riot police broke through the protesters' picket line and took away three leaders, Xiao Yunliang, Pang Qingxiang and Wang Zhaoming.
China Labour Bulletin has also received reports causing grave concern about the health and security of two of the detainees.
A key leader of the Liaoyang protests, Yao Fuxin, had been detained since 17 March, 2002, several days after several thousand workers staged street demonstrations against retrenchment. The police denied his arrest during the first few days of his detention. He was denied visits by his wife until 11 April. His wife, Guo Xiujing found a seriously ill Yao who had become half-paralyzed as a result of a stroke which, according to the police, had occurred sometime during his detention. Guo said Yao had no prior history of heart problems and expressed concern that his stroke might have happened as a result of torture or maltreatment suffered during his detention.
Family members of another detained leader, Xiao Yunliang, also expressed concern about his well-being when Xiao's defence counsel was refused permission to hold a meeting with him by the Public Security Bureau.
Five representatives of the Liaoyang Ferro-alloy Factory's workers' protest have been arrested so far. They are: Yao Fuxin, male (54); Xiao Yunliang, male (57); Pang Qingxiang, male (58); Wang Zhaoming, male (37);, and Gu Baoshu, male (37).
(Source: China Labour Bulletin)