Sunday, October 17, 2010

Zhao Dongmin: A Chinese Activist Who Will Never Win the Nobel Peace Prize

Though he meets the superficial conditions of being a critic of the Chinese Communist Party and imprisoned without trial, he does so from the Left - not from the pro-privatization stance of Liu Xiaobo and Charter 8. The latter fits in nicely with the desire of Western powers to 'democratize' China, which would probably have the added benefit of opening up its financial system.

But those who advocate worker's rights just aren't on the radar screen of the Western elite right now - can't imagine why.

Background :

On 27 July, the municipal government of Xi'an formally banned a local workers’ rights group that was seeking, but never obtained, official recognition of its status as an enterprise restructuring watchdog.

Just three months earlier, on 7 April, a group of more than 380 workers, predominately from local state-owned enterprises (SOEs), applied to the provincial Party committee and trade union federation to set up the Shaanxi Union Rights Defence Representative Congress, a body tasked with overseeing and monitoring SOE restructuring, and reporting corruption and abuses of power. The workers were concerned that the official trade union was not doing its job properly and that workers’ congresses in local SOEs had been bypassed in the process of restructuring and privatization.

Party and local union officials initially dismissed the workers’ application as the work of troublemakers, not worthy of consideration. The workers however were only emboldened by this rebuff and demanded a meeting with senior union officials to discuss the application and other pressing issues affecting workers in local SOEs. The meeting took place on 15 April at the provincial union’s workers’ centre in Xi'an, and was attended by workers from the Xinhua Rubber Plant, Fenglei Watchband Plant and Hu County Paper Mill, plus local labour activist Zhao Dongmin, the director of the Shaanxi trade union federation’s office and the director of the workers’ centre, amongst others.

Zhao writes, in part, of the rejected application for an independent trade union:

The “Application to establish a Shaanxi Union Rights Defence Representative Congress” is a strongly worded demand by the working class to the Party to strengthen its leadership over the working class and the peasant class, as well as a demand for the socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and farmers to thoroughly expose and punish corrupt officials in cahoots with factory directors and managers (known in political terms as the bureaucratic capitalist class), who are even more brutal and ruthless than capitalists. Isn’t the Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau’s arbitrary “ban” in effect weakening and even “banning” the Party’s leadership of workers and farmers, shielding corrupt officials in cahoots with factory directors and managers, and harming the socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and farmers?

1'A brief history of a workers’ rights group in China' - China Labor Bulletin

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