Chinese authorities arrest editors involved with workers’ protests
Navin Dewage and Peter Symonds
18 April 2019
Chinese authorities intensified their crackdown on labour activists and leftist students last month, arresting journalists sympathetic to the plight of workers and critical of the government. This followed the detention of students and workers, 44 of whom are still in custody, for their involvement in a struggle by Jasic Technology workers last year to form an independent trade union.
On March 20, Wei Zhili and Ke Chengbing were taken into custody. They are editors of New Generation, which reported on the conditions of the millions of internal migrant workers in China. Wei’s laptop and mobile phone were confiscated. Yang Zhengjun, the publication’s editor-in-chief, had been detained already on January 8.
Amnesty International reported that a police officer had told Wei’s father, who was present when the arrest was made, that his son would be sent to a detention centre for re-education. The officer accused Wei of “not having a proper job although graduating from a good school, and being ‘brainwashed’ to engage in anti-communist and counter-revolutionary activities that disturb the social order.”
Wei’s wife, Zheng Churan, an activist for women’s rights, told the Financial Times: “My husband just wants to help workers, he hasn’t done anything wrong but still he has been detained and lost his freedom, it’s devastating.” She said she was worried the police would use “abusive methods to force him to admit that he did something wrong.”
A Guangdong-based activist told Newsgram.com that the New Generation editors were likely detained for assisting migrant workers suffering pneumoconiosis, or black lung disease, who were seeking…