Open Statement by Hong Kong Labour Groups on the Trial of Guangdong Labour Activists

Three Guangdong labour activists - Zeng Feiyang, Zhu Xiaomei, and Tang Huanxing, who were arrested by Chinese police on 3 December 2015 - will stand trial on charges of “gathering a crowd to disturb social order” on 26 - 28 September in the Panyu district court in Guangzhou. Meng Han, who was arrested with them, remains detained in Guangzhou Detention Centre No. 1. Local prosecutors sent his case back a second time to the police for further investigation, and a hearing for him has yet to be set.

In the December arrests, more than 50 labour activists were taken in for questioning, and seven were detained or disappeared. Those seven spent long periods in detention, and were unable to meet with their lawyers. Lawyers authorized by family members  of the detained went to the detention center asking to meet their clients, but the lawyers were often denied on the grounds that they needed the approval of the police authorities investigating the case; sometimes they were not even given any reason or documentation. Of those detained, Zeng Feiyang was not able to see his lawyer until six months after his arrest, and was the subject of a smear campaign by official media. In addition, the family members of those arrested have to this day been subjected to surveillance, physical threats, and verbal intimidation.

Since 2015, mainland China’s civil society has faced frequent repression, with several large-scale arrests of rights defence lawyers, and women's rights and labour activists.  Recently, Communist Party authorities held a series of political trials of those arrested. In August of this year, four rights defence lawyers - Zhou Shifeng, Hu Shigen, Gou Hongguo, and Zhai Yanmin - were charged with "subversion of state power" and given prison sentences ranging from three to seven years.  On September 22, the Beijing lawyer Xia Lin, who has defended many activists (including Ai Weiwei, Pu Zhiqiang, and Tan Zuoren), was sentenced to 12 years in prison for fraud. Chinese courts have become the Chinese Communist Party's tool for political repression, piling on various offences to prosecute activists and deprive them of their civil rights.

Similarly, we believe the actions of the Guangzhou police have trampled on the principles of justice and law and the basic human rights of those arrested, and seriously violated current domestic law. Article 11 of the International Declaration of Human Rights clearly states all those subject to criminal prosecution have the right to obtain adequate defence. Article 14.3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guarantees the right of those facing criminal prosecution the right to contact a lawyer of their own choosing in the preparation of a defense. The meaning of the phrase "of their own choosing" is that the accused should make the choice of their own free will, and not under threat or force. The [United Nations] Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment expressly provides that a detainee should have the right to assistance in obtaining legal counsel, and the right to communicate and consult with legal counsel. Article 125 of the People's Republic of China Constitution states: "the accused have the right to defense." Article 14 of the People's Republic of China Criminal Procedure Law states: "the public security organs shall safeguard the procedural rights to which participants in proceedings are entitled according to law". Article 33 of the Criminal Procedure Law states that for a “defendant in custody, his or her guardian or close relative may retain a defender on his or her behalf.”

Today three labour activists stand trial. In light of  the actions taken since last December by Guangzhou police in committing multiple violations of  the rights of the detained, and monitoring and harassing their family members, we issue the following public statement:

1. When the legal rights of workers have been violated, it is natural for them to self-organize and seek out social support. Even though they caused losses for the factory, this does not constitute "gathering a crowd to disturb social order". The rights of workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining should be respected; workers and labour activists have committed no crime in defending the rights of labour.

2. The Ministry of Public Security should carry out its supervisory responsibilities and instruct the Guangzhou police to follow the aforementioned national laws and international conventions recognized by the Chinese government, protect the rights of the four accused to an effective defence and to freely appoint a lawyer, and to protect the rights of the families  of the accused to appoint a lawyer and prepare an adequate defence until the end of the trial.

3. The Guangzhou Municipal People's Procuratorate and the Supreme People's Procuratorate should carry out their legal supervisory responsibilities, curb the illegal actions of the public authorities in this case, and make a record of and investigate those who have violated the law and bring them to justice.

4. We are watching the situation closely, and demand an immediate end to the political prosecution of the staff of these labour organizations, and their immediate release.

 

Co-signed Organizations:

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

Globalization Monitor

Workers Empowerment

Labour Education and Service Network

Labour Action China

Red Balloon Editorial Committee

Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour

China Labour Bulletin

Left 21

Asia Monitor Resource Centre


September 26, 2016

 

Text in Chinese:

香港勞I工團體對廣東勞權人士被起訴的公開聲明

自2015年12月3日被中國警方抓捕的廣東勞權人士曾飛洋、朱小梅、湯歡興三人,將於9月26日至28日在廣州市番禺區法院就其被控「聚眾擾亂社會秩序罪」開庭審理。去年12月與他們同時被捕的孟晗則仍然羈押于廣州市第一看守所,當地檢察機關已將其案件第二次退回公安機關補充偵查,開庭時間未能確定。

是次抓捕事件中,超過五十名勞權人士被帶走問話,七人曾被拘留或失蹤,他們都曾長時間在看守所未能與律師會面。被捕者的親屬曾委託辯護律師前往看守所要求會見,卻往往被以需要辨案機關批准為由拒絕,甚至不給予任何理由及文件證明。其中曾飛洋一直到被捕六個月後才得以見到律師,更被官方媒體發布抹黑報道。不僅如此,眾被捕者的家屬或被監視居住,或受暴力騷擾,或遭言語恐嚇,至今不止。

自2015年以來內地對民間社會打壓不斷,多次大規模抓捕維權律師、女權和勞權人士。至近月,中共對這批被補人士陸續進行政治審判。本年八月初,四名維權律師周世鋒、胡石根、勾洪國和翟岩民被法院控以「顛覆國家政權罪」判刑三年至七年不等;曾為多名維權人士(包括艾未未、浦志強、譚作人)辯護的北京律師夏霖,則在日前(9月22日)因詐騙罪被重判入獄十二年。中國法院已淪為中共政治打壓的工具,並堆砌各種罪名檢控維權人士,剝奪他們的公民權利。

同時,我們認為廣州警方等的做法踐踏了公正司法原則,踐踏了被捕者的基本人權,也嚴重違反了現行的國內法。《世界人權宣言》第11條明確了凡受刑事追訴者有獲得充分辯護的權利。《公民權利與政治權利國際公約》第14條第三點明確了凡受刑事追訴者有與他自己選擇的律師聯絡以準備辯護的權利,「自己選擇」必須是當事人自己真實自主的意思而不能是被威脅、逼迫的屈從。《保護所有遭受任何形式拘留或監禁的人的原則》明文規定被拘留的人應有權獲得法律顧問的協助,有權與法律顧問聯絡和磋商。《中華人民共和國憲法》第125條規定“被告人有權獲得辯護”。《中華人民共和國刑事訴訟法》第14條規定“公安機關應當保障嫌疑人依法享有的辯護權和其他訴訟權利。”第33條規定“嫌疑人在押的,也可以由其近親屬代為委託辯護人。”

如今三名勞權人士移送法院審理,我們基於廣州警方去年底以來種種踐踏被補者權利的行徑,以及被捕者家屬屢受監控及騷擾的遭遇,發表公開聲明如下:

1. 工人因合法權利受侵,自發維權及尋求社會支援理所當然,即使給工廠造成損失,也不因此構成「聚眾擾亂社會秩序」。工人的結社自由和集體談判權利應當受到尊重,所有工人及勞權人士捍衛勞權的行動本當無罪;

2. 公安部應當履行監督職責,責成廣州警方遵照以上中國政府承認的國際公約以及國內法,保障四名當事人獲得有效辯護的權利,保障其自由委託律師的權利,保障當事人親屬為其委託的辯護律師能充分地行使辯護權利,直至法院審判結束;

3. 廣州市人民檢察院、最高人民檢察院應當履行法律監督職責,遏止公權部門在此案中的違法行為,對濫權違法者,立案偵查,將其繩之以法;

4. 我們密切關注並且要求,立即撤銷打壓勞工團體負責人的政治檢控,釋放所有勞權人士。

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions

Globalization Monitor

Workers Empowerment

Labour Education and Service Network

Labour Action China

Red Balloon Editorial Committee

Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour

China Labour Bulletin

Left 21

Asia Monitor Resource Centre

2016年9月26日

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