An Open Letter from senior workers at the Liaoyang Ferro-alloy Factory Corporation to President Hu Jintao

An Open Letter from senior workers at the Liaoyang Ferro-alloy Factory Corporation to President Hu Jintao [NOTE 1]

1 June 2003

Dear Comrade Hu Jintao, Secretary-General of the Party Central Committee,

We are a group of senior workers from the Liaoyang Ferro-alloy Factory and are writing to inform you of the case of Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang.

The Liaoyang Immediate People’s Court’s judgment [9 May 2003] was found by us to be extremely unjust and the detention, hearing, trial and verdict of the two men in no way resembled the Communist Party’s theory of a People’s Police and a People’s Court. The judgment fundamentally violated the principle of seeking truth from facts and judging according to law. Although there were many witnesses and testimonies, the accusations were not truthful. The municipal procuratorate’s indictment contained the testimony of several witnesses, as did the verdict – none of them however could provide any solid evidence to prove that Yao and Xiao had joined the China Democracy Party as alleged. [NOTE 2] There were no details of the timing, the location the contact person or the procedure of their alleged membership provided [by the court]. Without any such evidence, how could they be charged with subversion against the country? From the beginning to the end of the case, all we have seen is extorted confessions, false reports, deceitful testimonies and faked evidence.

Certain individuals from the Liaoyang Municipal Committee, the local government, the National People’s Congress and its Judiciary are responsible for this injustice. They aimed to cheat the central government and fooled the Chinese people. They ordered an arbitrary crackdown of the anti-corruption protests by the workers, ignored the complaints and accusations made by workers both inside and outside the factory in the last four years

Who and what triggered the workers’ protests and complaints? Why didn’t the indictment and the verdict mention anything about the cause of the protests? Was it really true that Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang were ‘plotting’ the protests by themselves or is it rather that the workers launched the protests together. Who should make the final decision on the protests - the government or the corrupt officials?!… The government, both the central government, and all levels of local government, is always issuing instructions on the fight against corruption and the need for honesty. The government has shown it is determined to include all party members in its struggle and for all people to expose every corrupt body. Otherwise the country and the party could be in imminent danger.

The Liaoyang Ferro-alloy workers and the people here signed, all faithfully believe in the government’s words – we believed in what President Jiang Zemin, Secretary-General Hu and Wei Jianxing told us – that is why, in the last four years, from the lowest level of government to the highest, the workers tried to complain, to send in reports and to visit officials, however they were detained several times for their actions despite the legality of their behaviour. Workers were not satisfied with the government’s response and they continued their complaints, accusations and protests, and finally found themselves in jail. Several months later, the Liaoyang municipal committee and its judiciary finally arrested the corrupt leaders of the factory and delivered a verdict. [NOTE 3]

Yet, the four detained workers’ representatives, Pang Qingxiang, Wang Zhaoming , Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang, were charged with “illegal assembly and demonstration”. Pang and Wang were released on bail after nine months’ detention while Yao and Xiao were charged with “subversion against the government” and sentenced to seven and four years imprisonment respectively – they remain in prison.

Oh, Party Secretary-General Hu, do you really think the workers’ representatives could attempt subversion against the government? Why would they want to do such a thing? The sentencing of Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang broke the hearts of their families and pleased their enemies. The workers and the people are really upset! It violated our deepest wishes and we are really outraged! We are in tears and we feel hurt – Yao and Xiao are really innocent!

The central government encourages us to report corruption cases, to help supervise officials and bring them to justice in the courts if they violate the law. However, before our very own eyes, the workers’ representatives, who led the workers and their families in a fight against corruption, suddenly “became” the enemies of the party (and the government): isn’t this too extreme?

To dismiss an unpopular NPC representative, to expose and accuse a corrupt manager, a corrupt enterprise director and party committee secretary, the workers’ representatives, out of blue, suddenly found themselves being sentenced as “criminals attempting to subvert the government”…When we first heard the verdict, all the people in Liaoyang who had been following the case, could not hold back their tears. We discussed in lowered voices “who will dare to fight against corruption anymore? Who can eliminate corruption? Where can we find justice? Where is justice? What good conscience is left? If the workers representatives could “attempt to subvert the government”, what then could those corrupt and evil officials manage to do?

Our dear Secretary-General, we urge you to spare some time to study this case. You should know that some local government officials and enterprise leaders are really evil. They join together in lying to the central government by showing you bright work reports while at the same time bullying the people and setting barriers between the central government and us. How can you not give us a helping hand when you know the truth about our sufferings.

Four years in the battlefield - workers and ordinary people have lost a bitter battle even though we are convinced that the ex-governor, Zhang Guoguang, and the Provincial High People’s Court are corrupt highranking officials. [NOTE 4] We will continue to appeal, we will continue to complain and we will continue to make further petitions in the hope that an upright senior official will come to the aid of the common people and rectify the injustice served - releasing the workers representatives to avoid the allowing the foreign media creating another public storm.

Many thanks!

We will see you soon on our television screens


Senior workers from the now bankrupt Ferro-alloy factory
(Several tens of worker names have been removed by CLB)


Note 1: This letter is a transcribed version of an oral reading of the letter given to us by Guo Xiujing, wife of Yao Fuxin. CLB has transcribed the letter and has inserted formatting. CLB takes responsibility for any errors or inaccuracies contained in the letter and its translation.

Note 2: Reference:

Note 3: The Beijing Morning Post of 14 March 2003 reported that on 11 March 2003, the Liaoyang Intermediate People's Court delivered the following verdict: LFFC's former director and general manager Fan Yicheng, had been found guilty of dereliction of his duties and smuggle, sentenced to a 13 year term of imprisonment. The previous manager of the LFFC's import and export department, Liu Yongjia, was charged with embezzlement of public funds, and was sentenced to a 6 year term of imprisonment. The previous manager of the LFFC's resources department, Cao Ce was found guilty of embezzling public funds and was sentenced to a 6 year term of imprisonment. The former LFFC director and assistant general manager, Wang Youguang, who was also the manager of the Liaoyang Iron Ore & Ferroalloy Distribution Conpany, was charged with negligence at work and illegal operation of the same type of business. He was condemned to a 4 year term of imprisonment.

Note 4: According to the Beijing Xinhua News Agency’s report on 24 February 2004, the previous Hubei provincial committee deputy secretary and ex-governor of Hubei Province, Zhang Guoguang, was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and turned over to the judicial authorities on charges of accepting bribes. Zhang was the governor of Liaoning between 1998 and January 2001 and later became the governor of Hubei. The report stated that Zhang “took 960,000 yuan in bribes and gifts while he was working in northeast China's Liaoning Province. In return, he used his power to help people obtain benefits illegally.” Also Tian Fengqi, former head of the Liaoning Provincial Higher People's Court (June 1999 to August 2001), was charged with taking bribes. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on 15 May 2003. Tian exploited his office and accepted bribes amounting to 3.3 million yuan. LFFC announced bankruptcy on 5 November 2001. On 9 May 2003, workers’ representatives Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang, fighting against corruption and guarding rights of the workers, were charged by the Liaoyang Intermediate People’s Court with “subversion against the country” and sentenced to seven and four years imprisonment respectively.

8 May 2004

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