date: 13 January 2003
contact: Bandula Kothalawala
direct line: (0) 20 74671257
Mr Zha Peixin
Embassy of the Peoples' Republic of China
49-51 Portland Place
Dear Mr Zha
On behalf of the TUC General Council, I write to express our deep concern over the impending trial of Mr Yao Fuxin and Mr Xiao Yunliang, due to start on 15 January 2003, on charges of subversion.
Our information is that Mr Yao and Fuxin(sic) had been under arrest along with two other fellow workers since last March and that they had been denied access to proper medical attention or legal advice during their detention. We have also learnt that Mr Yao and Mr Xiao face charges of subversion that carries life imprisonment or death penalty. We reliably understand that all charges have been denied by the accused as well as by the local leadership of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) in Liaoyang. The arrest and subsequent imprisonment of the four workers concerned has led the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) to lodge a complaint with the International Labour Organisation against your Government.
The workers in Liaoyang were merely exercising their rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining as guaranteed by the ILO, of which your Government is a member. We are particularly disturbed that worker representatives have been subjected to such harsh treatment after your countrys accession to the Governing Body of the ILO. I urge you to ensure that the charges against the four workers representatives are dropped and that they are released with immediate effect.