In the final week of August, the CCP (‘Communist’ Party) dictatorship launched a nationally coordinated crackdown against left youth activists and workers fighting for trade union rights in Shenzhen.
Dozens have been arrested since police smashed down the door to the Huizhou apartment housing the Jasic Technology Workers’ Support Group, comprising dismissed workers and young left-wing activists, early on 24 August. Some of the youth activists who are still being held by Guangdong police have reportedly started a hunger strike.
chinaworker.info (CWI China) has declared wholehearted solidarity with these young people and the workers at Jasic Technology, in Shenzhen. As a result of our campaign, their company is becoming known in the labour movement worldwide as a despicable anti-union sweatshop.
Photo – Solidarity protest in Bangalore, India (New Socialist Alternative)
The current crackdown is no local matter, confined to Guangdong, but a concerted police sweep with arrests being made in Beijing and other areas. Three Maoist-linked websites – ‘Epoch Pioneer’, ‘Red Reference’ and ‘Mao Zedong Flag’ – have also been raided and temporarily shut down, with a combined eight arrests being made among the staff of these popular sites. The government’s motive for this is to silence expressions of sympathy with the struggle in Shenzhen and deny any outlet for the outrage that is likely to grow as news of the police repression spreads.
The Jasic Technology struggle to establish an independent trade union at the company’s Shenzhen factory is historic and can have big effects on China’s political situation in the future. It signals that the struggle for real unions – outlawed under China’s dictatorship – is now on the agenda. This is the only way for Chinese workers to organise and defend their interests, incomes and jobs, against a crisis-hit capitalism that more than ever relies on the iron fist of state repression to protect its profits and power.
The struggle also signals a deepening of political radicalisation among Chinese workers and youth, which has been a growing trend in the past two years. Many of the idealistic and heroic young activists who went to Guangdong to support the workers’ struggle have been shocked at the ferocity of the state’s reaction. The 24 August crackdown has dealt a big blow to the mistaken belief of a section of the young activists that the central government in Beijing would intercede on their behalf, and that the order to crack down originated only at local level.
The brutality of the CCP regime’s measures, and the singling out of several left websites and groups, shows it is a nationally decided policy. It wants to ‘nip in the bud’ the fusion of rising worker militancy and radical anti-capitalist politics that have been a feature of this struggle. This will not succeed. The youth and workers will pick themselves up and regroup for future struggles. The young activists who have not been arrested, and even some who have been “released” but are under police surveillance, are still trying, with considerable bravery, to expose the brutal crackdown and refute the smears levelled at them by the state-controlled media that they are agents or dupes of “foreign forces”.
Photo – Gothenburg, Sweden (Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna)
Continuing and relentless solidarity campaigns are needed to support those that may face severe punishments at frame-up trials.
Chinaworker.info is campaigning for the immediate release of the members of the Jasic Workers’ Support Group and the arrested staffers of left-wing websites and the dropping of all charges against them. We call for the lifting of the closure orders on these websites and an end to political censorship. Trade unionists internationally are urged to express solidarity with Jasic Technology workers’ struggle and exert pressure on Chinese companies and authorities for the re-instatement of the unfairly dismissed workers. We wholeheartedly support the struggle for independent and democratic trade unions in China.
Above all, the new generation of left activists must draw all the necessary conclusions from this important struggle. That is that organisation and a revolutionary socialist policy are vital to bring about a complete change of the system in China and globally.
Photo – Pretoria, South Africa (Workers’ and Socialist Party)
The Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) is a socialist organisation with members in 40-plus countries, including chinaworker.info in China. In support of the Jasic Technology workers’ struggle, CWI members in more than 20 countries have initiated solidarity activities. Please send photos and reports to firstname.lastname@example.org