Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have detained a lawyer who had been representing former workers and labor activists linked to a unionization campaign at the Jasic Technology factory, a supporters group said on Friday.
"Guangzhou lawyer Huang Sha was taken away from his home in Putian, Shenzhen," the Jasic Workers' Solidarity Group (JWSG) said via its Twitter account on Friday. "Huang Sha was the human rights lawyer for the Jasic workers right from the start."
"We condemn these shameless acts of violence against those who supported the Jasic workers," the group said.
Huang's detention comes after a nationwide police operation targeting both former Jasic workers and JWSG activists, many of whom are recent graduates of some of China's top universities who became involved with the labor movement through Marxist and Maoist study groups on campus.
The JWSG listed a total of 18 people detained in a string of coordinated nationwide arrests on Nov. 9, including former Jasic worker Tang Xiangwei and 12 university graduates.
The JWSG listed several alumni of the prestigious Peking University (Beida), where the authorities recently shut down a student Marxist study group.
Similar crackdowns on Marxist groups and student supporters of the labor movement have been reported on the campuses of Renmin University in Beijing and Nanjing University.
'Great deal of concern'
A Beida graduate who asked to remain anonymous said he had been questioned by police in Beijing's Changping district on Thursday over his connections with detained Beida activists Shen Mengyu and Wang Xiangyi.
In an audio recording of his interview by a state security police officer, the officer can be heard commenting: "There is a great deal of concern over this situation at every level of government, including the central leadership. Otherwise, there's no way it would have escalated this far."
"All labor unions must be led by the [ruling Chinese Communist] Party," the police officer says. "Now that this has happened, there's going to be a huge change in the way grassroots organizations are run. We can't underestimate movements and changes at the grassroots level."
According to the Beida alumnus, Wang Xiangyi graduated from the Chinese department of Beida in the class of 2009. She had also spent two years in France on an exchange program, and had served as a department director of the Beida Shanying mountaineering club.
"She went to Shenzhen after graduating," he said. "A lot of alumni sent out posts and messages supporting her when she was detained."
Police have since been following up on messages sent by alumni and supporters of Wang on the social media platform WeChat, the source said.
Call for release
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin (CLB) called on the Shenzhen authorities to release two community officials from the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) who were detained during the Nov. 9 crackdown for helping the Jasic workers apply to set up their own union.
"Union officials like Zou Liping and Li Ao, who help #jasic workers unionise according to law, should be role models within the #ACFTU, they should in fact be commended for properly doing their job, not detained," CLB said via its Twitter account.
"[Zou and Li] were helping #Jasic workers set up a union according to law. Release them immediately," the group said.
According to the JSWG, a total of 32 workers and supporters remain behind bars following coordinated nationwide police raids on July 27, Aug. 24, Sept. 9, and Nov. 9.
Many also remain incommunicado,including Beida graduate and former #MeToo campaigner Yue Xin, Shang Kai, editor of the Maoist website Red Reference, and Maoist youth campaigner Yang Shaoqiang.
Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.