Zhao Dongmin has been imprisoned for "helping nearly 400 Chinese workers from
Xi'an organize a workers' rights group that would monitor the
restructuring of state-owned enterprises". In other words, a challenge to the theft of public assets by state enterprise managers, as well as welfare and other benefits accumulated by workers over years of working for state companies.
By The Associated Press – 22 October 2010
BEIJING, China — A Chinese labour activist who followed the teachings of revolutionary leader Mao Zedong has been sentenced to three years in prison, his lawyer said Friday.
A court in northern Shaanxi province found Zhao Dongmin guilty of disrupting public order for trying to set up a corruption watchdog group to monitor state-owned enterprises
, said attorney Li Jinsong.
Zhao's background is not that of the typical activist. A Communist Party member who got his degree from a party college, he helped found a 'Mao Zedong Study Group.' His case has been closely followed by leftist groups and academics, who supported his advocacy on behalf of workers.
"Zhao told me he fully supports the Chinese Communist Party, and what he has been doing is to represent and protect the interest of ordinary workers," said Li. "He told me that if he's sentenced, it would only prove that those who framed him and charged him are guilty."
Calling Zhao "a tough man," Li said his client intends to appeal the sentence, which was issued last Sunday by the Xincheng district court.
Zhao had been involved in helping nearly 400 Chinese workers from Xi'an organize a workers' rights group that would monitor the restructuring of state-owned enterprises.
The workers had tried to petition for legal status from the local government and trade union.
Court documents from the case posted online accused Zhao of organizing hundreds of workers to rally at the trade union's offices, "severely disrupting their work for seven hours." It said the workers were "making noises, shouting slogans, and humiliating staff."
Zhao was detained by police in August 2009, and has been kept completely out of sight. His wife, who died this past August, was never allowed to meet him, Li said.
"They even didn't allow him to see his wife for the last time," said Li.
China outlaws unauthorized labour organizing, limiting such activities to the government affiliated All China Federation of Trade Unions and to company branches of the ruling Communist Party.http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/world/breakingnews/chinese-labour-...FURTHER BACKGROUND READING
- including open letter from Zhao to Party leadership in Aug 2009 http://www.china-labour.org.hk/en/node/100560