Students who were engaged in a peaceful demonstration in support of workers at a factory in Shenzhen were rounded up and have not been seen nor heard from since that time. The workers were fighting for their rights as working conditions at the company were reported as problematic, and they had been attempting to form a union. CCS sent an inquiry to the President of China requesting information on the whereabouts of the students and advocating for their immediate release.
His Excellency Xi Jinping
The State Council General Office
Xichengqu, Beijingshi 100017
People’s Republic of China
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our grave concerns for a group of 50 students who were detained in Huizhou, near Shenzhen, in Guangdong province on Friday, August 24, 2018. These students, who appear to have been engaged in peaceful political activity in support of workers at the Jasic Technology factory in Shenzhen, were rounded up early in the morning of August 24, and their whereabouts remain unknown to us.
Five factory workers were also arrested during this raid, and in a separate operation, two other students and two other factory workers were detained as well. Jasic Technology is a stock-market listed company that manufactures welding equipment for export. We understand there have been serious complaints about working conditions, and that there has been significant labor unrest since seven workers were fired for attempting to form an independent union in July.
As academics and scholars, we believe that it is vital to protect the rights of students to speak out and to associate freely. China has an international obligation to respect these rights, both for its students and for workers in its factories.
We seek information as to the status of these students, and to understand the reasons for their detention. If they are to be charged with a crime, we urge that they be given access to their families, to independent legal representation, and to any medical care they may need. If they have been arrested and jailed for their peaceful political activities, then they must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Thank you for your attention to this most important matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ambassador Cui Tiankai
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place, NW
Washington, DC 20008
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