Press Release on Liaoyang Police Again Use Violence Against Workers Holding a Peaceful Petition (2002-05-15)

On 15 May 2002, several hundred workers from the Ferroalloy Factory again assembled in front of government buildings to raise banners and peacefully petition the government for the release of detainees. At just after 10 am, more than ten plain-clothes police officers charged out of the government building's courtyard, attacked the workers with punches and kicks and seized their banners. Clashes followed as the workers protected the banners. During the clashes, the son of a retired Ferroalloy worker, whose mother had beaten during the police assault, demanded to know why they had attacked his mother. As a result, he was severely beaten by the police and then taken away.

On seeing her son being detained, the Ferroalloy retired worker fainted in the government courtyard. Government officials made no attempt to intervene and assist in the situation but other workers dashed into the courtyard and immediately administered medicine to the beaten and badly shaken-up retiree, thus averting a potentially life-threatening situation. Finally, the City Complaints Office arranged for the release of the woman's son with the police.

Following the detention of Ferroalloy Factory workers' representative Yao Fuxin on 17 May, 2002, the Liaoyang government deployed approximately 200 members of the People's Armed Police (PAP) to violently disperse peacefully petitioning workers on the following day, 18 March. Three more workers' representatives have since been detained: Xiao Yunliang, Ping Qingxiang and Wang Zhaoming. All four workers' representatives are currently being held in Tieling city detention centre in Liaoning province.

On 16 April, the Liaoyang Public Security Bureau (PSB) sent plain clothes officers to the house of another Ferroalloy workers' representative Gu Baoshu. The officers had an illegally copied key to his home. Gu was cruelly beaten by the officers, forcefully dragged away and detained. Faced with indignant demands from the workers, Gu Baoshu was released that evening by the PSB. When Gu, who was injured and required medical attention, demanded that the PSB pay his medical costs and investigate who was responsible for the beating, he was answered with further threats of detention.

On a related issue, Yao Fuxin has developed a heart condition while in detention. At present, the right side of his body is numb and he is walking with a limp in his right leg. His right hand trembles and shakes whenever he picks anything up and it is believed that he has suffered a stroke caused by the onset of heart disease. However, the PSB have still not allowed him to go to hospital on medical parole.

CLB condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the Liaoyang authorities further use of violence against peacefully petitioning workers. We demand a stop to all violent actions against the workers. We also demand that the Liaoyang government launch a criminal investigation against the plain-clothes police officers responsible for beating up Gu Baoshu. Moreover, Yao Fuxin must be granted immediate medical parole on humanitarian grounds.

CLB further demands that the Chinese government send a special judicial investigation team to Liaoyang as soon as possible. The team should conduct an inquiry into allegations of bribe taking and corruption among Liaoyang government officials and the misuse of power in order to attack petitioning workers and their representatives who are opposing corruption and struggling for their rights.

China Labour Bulletin


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