China - Labour activists detained and incarcerated (2011)

In late January 2010, Hunan authorities sentenced Luo Xi to two years’ re-education through labour (RTL) for “disrupting social order.” Luo Xi, a resident of Shaoyang city, Hunan province, was detained in Beijing on 8 January 2010 and reportedly held in criminal detention upon his return to Shaoyang for taking part in a December 2008 teachers’ strike in Hunan to demand wages and benefits comparable to those given to civil servants. While in detention he was reportedly forced to work 16 hours per day and only allowed to sleep four hours per night.

On 8 February 2010, the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Xue Mingkai, a 20-year old factory security guard, to 18 months in prison on charges of «subversion of state power.» He was first detained in Bao’an, Shenzhen on 9 May 2009 and formally arrested on 15 June 2009. The charges claim that in the summer of 2006, Xue had planned to organise a «China Democratic Workers’ Party» online and that he had joined the overseas China Democracy Party (CDP) in 2009 and recruited other individuals.

On 30 March Xiao Qingshan, a labour activist, was accused of disturbing public order and detained for seven days of administrative punishment by the Yuexiu branch of the Guangzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau during an environmental protest. Xiao was previously detained in 2009 for attempting to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary, and in October 2007 he was detained for ten days in Dongguan reportedly for efforts to collect wages on behalf of migrant workers.

According to media reports, on 20 October 2010 Zhao Dongmin, another labour activist, was sentenced to three years in jail for «gathering a crowd to disrupt social order». Zhao was first arrested in August 2009 after organising over 380 workers from about 20 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to form a labour rights group (the Shaanxi Union Rights Defence Representative Congress) to monitor the restructuring of SOEs and report corruption and abuses of power. The group was officially banned in July 2009.

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