Urgent Appeal for Solidarity with Chinese Labour activist

From "pioneerhk" <pioneerhk@hkbn.net>
Date Mon, 23 Feb 2004 14:43:01 +0800
References <20040221160923.824E598BEB@muse.clarku.edu>


Signature Campaign

Urgent Appeal for Solidarity with Chinese Labour activist

Cai Guangye



Cai Guangye was born in l964 in Jilin city, Jilin province, northeast China.
He graduated from the Shanghai No.2 Military Medical College, and worked as
a medical officer in Army Hospital 222 in Jilin.



Cai has long been concerned with the price workers and farmers have paid for
the economic reforms in China. These have led to mass unemployment and
poverty for millions of laid off workers from .restructured・ or wholly
privatised state owned enterprises. (SOEs). Cai has actively supported
actions staged by workers in the city of Jilin trying to defend their jobs
and rights.



Using the penname, .the pain of the unemployed・, Cai began to post
articles on the internet publicising the plight of laid off workers. On 11th
December, 2001, officials from the hospital where he worked visited Cai・s
home and took away his computer. On 21st of the same month, Cai was taken
into custody. Two and a half years later, in July 2003, Cai was finally
sentenced to a three years reeducation through labour V effectively forced
labour V  and is serving his time in a labour education camp near Shenyang
city, where he is responsible for sheep rearing and veterinary duties.



Shu Liyang, Cai・s wife, works as a high school teacher and her wage of just
US$100 per month has to meet all the family expenses, including the
education of their 13-year old daughter. Cai・s salary has not been paid
since he was detained.



The pace of restructuring of China・s SOEs increased dramatically following
the 15th Party Congress in 1997. The congress gave the green light to
privatisation. The consequent round of mergers, bankruptcies, buy outs by
private capital as well as increased competition have led to millions of SOE
workers being laid off. The pain of this process, which has been facilitated
by the lack of genuine trade unions and heightened by the lack of an
effective social security network, has been immense. Cai Guangye is one of a
small number of socialist-inclined intellectuals who have looked beyond
China・s spectacular economic growth and attempted to support and uphold
workers rights.



In his articles, Cai links the hardship of unemployed workers to the
neo-liberal policies of the present government. He argues that it is
unfettered free market ideology that has persuaded China・s leaders to
embark on a course that has seen many workers lose their jobs, housing, and
access to medical care and pensions rights. Faced with this tide of
impoverishment, Cai called for increased public concern for the plight of
SOE workers. For the local Jilin authorities such a call constituted
unacceptable dissent and he was sentenced to three years reeducation through
labour.



This document serves as opening appeal for solidarity with Cai Guangye and
his cause. We appeal to labour activists, trade unionists and supporters of
the working class in all countries to join this signature campaign for his
immediate release.



We demand that the Chinese government:



1.      Release Cai Guangye immediately and without conditions;

2.      Cease the persecution and detention of labour activists;

3.      End the current policy of privatisation;

4.   Recognise industrial democracy as the underlying principle of SOE
management;

5.   Implement Article 35 of the Constitution that guarantees freedom of
speech, the press, association and demonstration and furthermore revokes all
legal restrictions on these basic human rights.



10th February, 2004



Endorsed by

Hong Kong:

Globalization Monitor

HKCTU (  Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions),

Neighborhood and Workers Service Center,

Pioneer.

Taiwan:

National Federation of Independent Trade Unions

Workers・ Democracy Association

Coolloud Collective

15 individuals (see Chinese Version)

Japan:

China Now ! (electronic journal)



For endorsement and information, please email to:

globalmon@yahoo.com.hk