Press Release on Liaoyang workers prepare for extended struggle (2002-05-10)

On 7 May, the Liaoning Province Liaoyang Ferrous-Alloy Factory workers’ action for the release of the arrested workers’ representatives has entered its 4th day; the workers have been petitioning daily in front of the municipal government building.

A worker of the Ferrous-Alloy Factory told China Labour Bulletin (CLB), two officials of the municipal government’s complaint bureau appeared and said, if the workers appointed some representatives, they would arrange for them to meet the Mayor.

But the workers refused, because they were worried that the municipal government once again only wanted to pinpoint the workers’ leaders to arrest them. Finally the head of the complaint bureau came out and accepted a petition letter from the workers, furthermore he promised to forward it to the Mayor at once.

A worker of the Ferrous-Alloy Factory told CLB the petition letter sent to the Mayor contained five demands:

  1. Demand the government release the arrested workers’ representatives; if they do not release them, begin court action as soon as possible as the workers representatives must not be kept locked up indefinitely.
  2. Strongly demand the city government make public the report on forced bankruptcies and respond to the workers’ reasonable demands within a time limit.
  3. Strongly demand an increase in clampdown on corrupt officials; give the Ferrous-Alloy Factory workers a clear statement in the near future.
  4. Demand that the government lawfully punish those police who abused their legal positions and assaulted Gu Baoshu in a most cold-blooded way.
  5. Strongly demand, for humanitarian reasons, the government allow the Ferrous-Alloy Factory workers in separate groups and occasions to visit their jailed representatives in the Tieling (Iron Peak) detention centre.

The petition letter also expressed that the Ferrous-Alloy Factory workers will petition Beijing with collective demonstrations unless the city government speedily satisfy these demands.

CLB has also been told by these workers that they had prepared for a drawn-out confrontation and they had raised as much money as they could among the workers. For now, the sick, frail and otherwise discomforted to walk can claim their taxi fares from the raised money to join the demonstrations.

CLB also called the public security department of the Liaoyang municipal police bureau, to enquire about the status of the application for demonstration filed by four workers representatives of the Ferrous-Alloy Factory on 8 May. They replied that the responsible person in charge was not there and apart from that one person, no one knew how to handle an application for demonstration filed by the public.

10 May 2002

China Labour Bulletin

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