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Jasic Crackdown Widens

In early November 2018, more than a dozen students and recent college graduates who had expressed their support for the Jasic mobilisation were detained. Staff of a social work organisation in Shenzhen and two employees of a district-level ACFTU branch in the same city were also caught up in the crackdown. Those who were detained earlier—including one NGO staff member and three workers—continue to be held incommunicado. This latest development followed weeks of harassment against those students and activists who had mobilised to demand the release of those detained during the summer. A number of prominent Chinese universities attempted to block Marxism clubs on campus—with which the Jasic student supporters are affiliated—from renewing their registration. In response to the university’s punitive actions against a dozen of its students, Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations took the unprecedented step of suspending an academic labour exchange programme with People’s University in Beijing. This action drew a rebuke from the Global Times, which accused Cornell of echoing Trump’s strategy against China. Following the arrests in November, a number of renowned Marxist and left-wing international scholars, including Noam Chomsky, issued personal statements in support of those detained, and announced their intention to boycott China’s officially-sponsored Marxism conferences. In spite of mounting international solidarity, the situation for labour activism in China remains dire. In another recent instance of state repression, on 7 November, riot police in Shenzhen assaulted and pepper-sprayed former blast workers with silicosis who were protesting to demand compensation for their occupational disease. KL

(Sources: China Daily; Financial Times; Global Times; Guardian; Reuters; Radio Free Asia; The New York Times)

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