Two more workers arrested in Liaoyang

(Broadcast on 22 March, 2002)

In the morning of 21 March, over a thousand workers of the Liaoyang Ferroy-Alloy Factory gathered for a fourth consecutive day in front of the Municipal Government Building to demand the government release four arrested workers’ representatives.

Two more workers were arrested during the demonstration. One of them, Guo Suxiang, 56, is the wife of workers’ representative Long Qingxiang who was arrested on 20 Mach. The other came from the Liaoyang Dyeing and Printing Factory. I called the Liaoyang municipal police department to enquire. A policeman on duty said:



Police:

I don’t know much about this, you should enquire at the municipal government. We are not authorised to give out information at the police.

Han Dong-fang:

Aren’t you the ones who carry out the arrests?

Police:

We didn’t arrest anybody!

I called another police department. The policeman who took the call confirmed that there have recently been workers' street demonstrations every day demanding the release of the arrested workers.

Police:

Yes, we went there, apparently all the police went there. There were quite a few hundred workers petitioning. The petition mainly demanded the release of those under arrest. I think they only petition for the release of the workers. If there were no arrests, they wouldn’t come to petition either. Even we are not clear about exactly how many have been arrested. They have been petitioning for days now, wanting to free the arrested workers. We don’t really know either how exactly their demand has been dealt with.

The wife of Yao Fuxin, the first workers’ representative to be secretly arrested, described what happened on the scene of the arrest.

Mrs. Yao:

Today, when they arrested Long Qingxiang’s wife, a redundant worker from the Dyeing & Printing Factory worker was standing nearby. He said, “You are really unreasonable, arresting people like this, in front of a whole crowd.” The police asked, “What do you do?” He answered, “ I am from the Dyeing & Printing Factory .” The police said, “So, you came from the Dying & Printing Factory to incite. Take him away.” They arrested him just like that.

Han:

From the Dyeing & Printing Factory?

Mrs. Yao:

Yes, a redundant worker from the Dyeing & Printing Factory.

Han:

Did the workers of the Dyeing & Printing Factory go today?

Mrs Yao:

They are from all sorts of units; it is chaotic. Only the workers of the Ferrous-Alloy Factory went as a group.

Han:

Were the workers from all the other factories there too?

Mrs Yao:

People form the other factories came by twos and threes.Some came from small factories; our factory is big!

Han:

What’s the man’s name?

Mrs Yao:

I don’t know his name, only that he is from the Dyeing & Printing Factory.He said it then, that he was a laid-off worker of the Dyeing & Printing Factory.

Han:

The Dyeing & Printing Factory has also gone bankrupt, hasn’t it?

Mrs Yao:

It’s been quite a while already. It went bankrupt even earlier than the Ferrous-Alloy Factory. The Dyeing & Printing Factory is also very big.

She continued by elaborating on the situation at the scene of the workers’ protest today.

Mrs Yao:

There were over 10,000 people at the site. (She asks someone standing nearby: “Were there about 1,000 from the Ferrous-Alloy Factory?”)

Han:

Were there about 1,000 from the Ferrous-Alloy Factory?

Mrs Yao:

There were about 1,000 from the Ferrous-Alloy Factory.

Han:

What time did it finish?

Mrs Yao:

They came back around noon time.

Han:

Has there been no response at all?

Mrs Yao:

No, no response at all. Since they arrested four representatives, the others cannot come out now. They said whoever came out would be arrested. Today there was only one representative. He is a paralysed patient and was pushed to the scene in a wheelchair by some old folks. He is an old worker of the Ferrous-Alloy Factory but he is paralysed.Two old ladies pushed him to the site, he was the only representative today.

Han:

So, is that why they didn’t arrest him?

Mrs Yao:

They cannot arrest a paralysed person. He can’t even find a place to eat! Try arresting him!

Since the secret arrest of Yao Fuxin on 17 March, workers and his family repeatedly went to the police and district office to demand his release, but they were told that the police did not arrest anyone. However, four days later, the families of Yao Fuxin and three other fellow workers’ representatives received notices of criminal detention, all at the same time.

Mrs Yao:

What it means for us, is that they recognised that they had arrested him. The notice was served by the Baita (White Pagoda) District Office at 2:45pm. It said, “Yao Fuxin and the others violated Article No. 61 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China; on March 17. This office detained Yao Fuxing on suspicion of illegally demonstrating. Now he is under detention in Tieling (Iron Peak) City Detention Centre. The other three too, they all have received notices.

Han:

Then, what are we going to do next?

Mrs. Yao:

What to do? There is nothing else we can do, just go tomorrow again to demand his release.

She said, there were some young workers’ representatives who were still willing to stand up for everybody but, under the strong urge of the workers, they have now gone into hiding to preserve their strength.

Mrs Yao:

We will continue tomorrow, but again, it will be the old folks taking the lead. The young people all want to come out. But, the older ones want to protect them and they won’t let them out.

Han:

But these people still want to charge ahead?

Mrs Yao:

Yes, they do. But for the sake of their own safety, they can’t be allowed.

By past 10 pm on 21 March, the Liaoyang police went five times to the homes of the workers’ representatives in hiding to arrest them but they could not find anyone.

Mrs Yao:

It’s their fifth visit tonight to the families.

Han:

Do they go to the homes of these workers’ representatives to look for them?

Mrs Yao:

Yes, they are looking for and trying to arrest the workers’ representatives at home; those who can hide, hide; those who can flee, flee.

Han:

Has anyone else been arrested?

Mrs Yao:

No arrests have been made yet, they are just looking for them high and low.

Finally, she said that the workers still pinned their hope on the Central Government.

Mrs Yao:

I can still stick it out, otherwise what else can I do? All the workers and their families at the Ferrous-Alloy Factory come here every day. (She weeps.) They all bring food for me; they keep me company. There is nothing we can do, we can just hope that someone will be sent down from the Central Disciplinary Committee and this lid will be lifted. Only then could these few guys of the Ferrous-Alloy Factory be freed. At the very least the central leadership should send somebody.

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