Panyu Labour Activists Sentenced, Lu Yuyu Beaten in Jail
On 26 September, the Panyu district court in Guangzhou held separate hearings for labour activists Zeng Feiyang, Zhu Xiaomei, and Tang Huanxing. Zeng was sentenced to three years imprisonment, suspended for four years, for ‘gathering a crowd to disturb social order’, while Zhu and Tang received prison sentences of eighteen months, suspended for two years, for the same charge. The case of Meng Han, another activist who refused to cooperate with the judicial authorities, was sent back to the police for further investigation (he already had a previous conviction back in 2014 for organising hospital security guards). All activists worked for the Panyu Migrant Workers Centre, an outspoken labour NGO based in Guangzhou that has, over the past few years, distinguished itself for taking on several high-profile collective cases. After being arrested in a coordinated crackdown against labour activists in early December 2015, Zeng and his colleagues were formally accused of ‘gathering a crowd to disturb social order’. While Zhu and Tang were released on bail after a few weeks, Zeng and Meng remained under detention for almost ten months. Worrying news has also emerged about blogger Lu Yuyu, chronicler of protests in China, and his girlfriend and collaborator Li Tingyu who have been detained since 15 June. On 31 August, Lu met his lawyer at the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture Detention Centre, and told him that he had been beaten by officers and was suffering from sleep deprivation after having been exposed to strong light at night. Amnesty International has called for urgent action in support of Lu and Li.