Urgent Appeal for Solidarity with Chinese Labour activist Mr. Cai Guangye
Cai Guangye was born in l964 in Jilin City, Jilin province, North China. He was graduated with a Master degree from the Shanghai No.2 Military Medical College, and became the medical officer of the 222 Army Hospital in Jilin before being arrested. He had been concerned with the plight of workers and farmers for a long time, and supported actions staged by workers being laid off from the State-owned enterprises (SOEs) who fought and defend their rights.
Using the penname ‘Lay off workers with tears’, Cai began to publish articles in the internet. On 11th December 2001, officials from the hospital visited Cai’s home for investigation, and took away his computer. On 21st of the same month, Cai was taken into custody. Only in July 2003, after two and a half years, Cai was sentenced to a 3 year forced labor, and was jailed in a labour education camp in the countryside of Shenyang.
According to Cai’s friends, in the labour camp Cai is assigned to feed and take care of sheep, and he has to perform duties of veterinary surgeon. His wife Shu Liyang is a high school teacher. His daughter, age 13, is a high school student. Cai’s salary has not been paid since he was detained. The whole family relies only on his wife’s monthly salary (RMB 800, ~US100) and it is difficult to make end meet.
Following the government’s privatization scheme on SOEs some years ago, many SOEs has been closed down, taken over, brought or merged by private capital under severe competition. This implies that more and more workers will lose their jobs. The unemployed workers face great hardship because the basic social security is not yet in place. This aroused the attention of some intellectuals, and some began to use various ways to support and defend workers’ legal rights and interests. Cai is among one of them.
In his articles, Cai tries to link up the unemployed workers’ hardship to the neo-liberal policies of the present government and explicitly points out that it is the neo-liberal ‘reform’ which made workers lose their jobs, their housing and all the basic social security protection. Cai chose to stand on the side of workers, and appealed for public support for workers’ interests. And he ended up in jail.
We are now organizing campaign to show our solidarity with Cai and we protest against his unreasonable sentence.
We, the undersigned, initiate a signature campaign to call for Cai’s immediate release.
There is no national boundary to show our solidarity with workers and we appeal to all trade unions, labor groups and all those who concern the rights of Chinese labor
to demand the Chinese government to:
- release Cai immediately;
- stop persecuting labor activists;
- stop all neo-liberal policies; stop privatization of SOEs and run SOEs in a democratic way;
- implement freedom of speech and press, freedom of association and human rights which are enshrined in the Constitution.
10th February, 2004
HKCTU ( Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions),
Neighborhood and Workers Service Center,
National Federation of Independent Trade Unions
Workers’ Democracy Association
15 individuals (see Chinese Version)
China Now ! (electronic journal)
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Contact person: Lam