In response to the detention of 30 individuals who were peacefully protesting in support of factory workers’ attempt to form their own trade union at Jasic Technology in Shenzhen, southern China, Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International commented:
“The detention of the workers and their supporters is deplorable. The workers’ demand to form a union of their choice to protect their rights is entirely legitimate. Instead of trying to silence the protesters, the authorities should address the underlying allegations of abusive working conditions and respect the workers’ right to freedom of association.
“The charges against many of those detained by police are nothing more than an attempt to restrict their rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association”
“The charges against many of those detained by police are nothing more than an attempt to restrict their rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. All those involved in the protest should be released immediately and unconditionally unless there is evidence that internationally recognized crimes were committed.”
The 30 individuals – 23 men and seven women, including workers from the Jasic Technology factory, workers from other factories and a student – were placed under criminal detention on suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” on 27 July by Yanziling Police Station in Pingshan district in Shenzhen, southern China.
According to labour groups in Hong Kong who have been following the case, the workers at the Jasic Technology factory were accused by company management of trying to form an illegal trade union.
Some workers’ representatives were dismissed from their jobs and several of them were beaten up by unidentified people after they tried to return to work at the factory. The situation immediately attracted widespread attention on Chinese social media and many people came out to support the workers, including student groups from leading Chinese universities.
Other protesters were briefly detained and questioned by the police after they demonstrated outside the police station in support of the detained individuals.