Document 2 of 2.
Copyright 1999 Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse
January 01, 1999
SECTION: International news
LENGTH: 309 words
HEADLINE: Chinese activists prepares to set up non-political Labour Party
DATELINE: BEIJING, Jan 1
Several Chinese magazines are to set up a Chinese Labour Party to champion the
cause of workers, but not challenge the ruling communists, a US-based rights
group said Friday.
Shengde Lian, executive director of the Free China Movement, told AFP the initiators
of the party were
editors of several public opinion magazines including Yulun.
"They have set up a steering committee to form the party. Its purpose is to
monitor the Communist Party of China (CCP) and not to compete with it," Lian said.
The party would take up the interests of workers, including China's army of
retrenched workers, and protect their rights, he said, adding a website for the
party would be ready on Friday.
The move followed Sunday's sentencing of a labour activist Zhang Shanguang to
10 years in jail for
"endangering state security" by a court in China's central province of Hunan.
Zhang, 45, was formally arrested on August
28 after being detained for more than a month, according to the Hong Kong-based
Information Centre of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China.
Police in Huaihua detained him on July 21 for trying to set up an organisation
to defend the rights of
laid-off workers, an act that
"threatened state security."
China does not allow any trade unions or labour organisations other than those
sanctioned by the Communist Party and regularly throws unofficial labour
organisers into prison.
Lian said the act violated the provisions of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights which China signed last October.
The government has already laid off more than 10 million workers from
loss-making state enterprises and plans to cut six million more jobs next year,
moves which could lead to widespread social unrest as redundant workers are cut
off from cradle-to-grave housing, medical care and pensions.
LOAD-DATE: January 01, 1999
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