China: State repression against leftist trade unionist

The Chinese police illegally arrested Zhao Dongmin, as the government-controlled puppet trade union accused Maoist activists of "disrupting social order"

On 25 September, the People’s Court of the Xincheng District in the city of Xi’an of Shaanxi province opened the case in which the regime-controlled general trade union of Shaanxi province accused Zhao Dongmin. During this case, the local government utilised a large number of policemen and armed police to completely block off the area around the court, as if it was facing a major enemy force. It prevented any external media or Maoist activists and workers who came to give support to Zhao from getting anywhere near the court. Several protesting Maoist activists outside the court area were arrested and their instruments taken away. On that day, dozens of Maoists from all over the country went to the court to voice their protests.

Zhao Dongmin was originally a legal adviser in Xi’an, the provincial capital, and has worked for a long time as the legal adviser for both enterprises and individuals, providing them with legal information and services. During 2008-2009 he established the "Shaanxi provincial Mao Zedong Thought Study Group" and the "Masses’ Congress Research Group for the Trade Unions of Public and Private Enterprises in Shaanxi Province". On 15 June and 25 June 2009 he twice organised hundreds of workers to give an open letter to the general trade union office of Shaanxi province and waited there for a response. He demanded the establishment of "Masses’ Congress for the Trade Unions of Public and Private Enterprises in Shaanxi Province", and this became the reason for the general trade union of Shaanxi province to accuse him in court. In summer 2009, Zhao Dongmin provided legal assistance to employees at the state-owned Shaanxi provincial Dongfang Hotel, Xi’an Hotel and Tangcheng Hotel which were undergoing privatisation at that time. On the night of 16 August, security officers took Zhao away from his apartment and arrested him on the charges of "disrupting social order".

Afterwards, during the subsequent year, the local government not only refused to arrange for any kind of formal legal hearing for Zhao, but also refused to allow his family to visit him. His wife could not see him even though she fell ill at the end of last year and passed away at the end of August this year.

After holding Zhao for nearly 13 months, the government-controlled puppet trade union has formally accused Zhao Dongmin of "disrupting social order", and the court case finally began on 25 September. As a result of this dozens of Maoist supporters from Xi’an and elsewhere in the country went to the court to give him support. But on the day the case opened, there was a heavy police presence around the court, and people were prevented from participating in the legal process or to hear what is going on. Even Zhao’s immediate family relatives only got 2 places in the court hearing, while most of the other places were occupied by representatives of the general trade union of Shaanxi province. The banners and loudspeakers used by supporters outside the court building were also forcefully taken away by the police, and several people were arrested. The case is still being considered at the court, and soon the court will publish a formal verdict.

Chinaworker protests against the dictatorial regime’s brutal suppression of leftist worker movements and its violation of people’s basic human rights. We support the basic democratic rights of Zhao Dongmin and the workers’ movements all over China, and we call for all leftists to actively voice their support for Zhao’s case and the resistance struggles of workers. We do not agree with Zhao’s idea of reforming the one-party dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party and its puppet trade union, and we are against the retrogressive Maoist idea of returning to the dictatorial Stalinist and Maoist system. This is because today this ex-Stalinist party has completely degenerated into a dictatorial bureaucratic interest group that defends the interests of the capitalist class and the process of capitalist restoration in China, and Stalinism has completely lost mass support and can no longer provide a way forward for the masses due to its dictatorial and bureaucratic nature. But we support the calls by Zhao Dongmin and other grassroots leftist masses for public ownership, and grassroots democratic trade unions and defence of the basic rights of workers and peasants all over China.

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November 2010