Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A93-L5



Release Date: December 12, 2004



Topic: Workers Leaders Wei Jingsheng and George Becker Talk of the Workers' Movement in China (Voice of America)



Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)





Workers Leaders Wei Jingsheng and George Becker Talk of the Workers' Movement in China

-- reported by YanQing, Voice of America, December 11, 2004



In the past year, protests and demonstrations held by Chinese workers and peasants have increased tremendously.  This increase has not only received the attention in various social groups within China, but also has attracted the close attention of the world.


George Becker started work in a steel factory when he was 15.  He has been a steel worker all his life.  In 1993 and 1997, he was elected International President of the United Steelworkers of America, which represents 750,000 workers.  Currently, he is a committee member in the United States - China Economic and Security Review Commission.  Mr. Becker expressed his deep sympathy and support for the current condition and struggle Chinese workers have to face.


* On defending themselves by collective negotiation *


Mr. Becker said: "I have learned from various documents and newspapers that the Chinese workers are simultaneously organizing to protest.  The protests have been getting more and more frequent, and the strikes have been getting more and more frequent.  Chinese workers are putting more effort in making themselves a social class that will receive recognition as well as fair treatment.”


Mr. Becker pointed out that to truly protect their own interests, the workers must organize together to create collective bargaining.


He said: "I have led workers' strikes and organized protests in the past when we felt unfair treatment.  We challenged the companies and we challenged the government.  What the Chinese workers are trying is what I did.  However, because we are in a democratic system, those of us who protested were not arrested and detained.  However, all the reports and materials indicate that the Chinese workers who are fighting for these rights are being persecuted.  In the United States, many of us are trying our best to help them.”


* On the difficulty in connecting the International Workers' Movement with the Chinese Workers' Movement *


The leader of the Chinese democracy movement, Mr. Wei Jingsheng, said during an interview: "The international workers' movement has always been supportive of the Chinese workers' movement.  This support has produced two layers of relationships.  One is the issue of how to do the support.  The other is that the Chinese government is trying all it can to cut off this support.  This struggle has been continuing.  Generally speaking, the Chinese workers' movement started by itself in one certain place due to particular reasons.  From the beginning, there was not much association with the outside.  Therefore, the International Workers' Movement communicates with them after the event, which produces some difficulties in offering support."


"One difficulty is learning who to associate with.  Chinese government has always made the ACFTU (All China Federation of Trade Unions) for international relations.  But of course, everyone knows that is an organization employed by the government.  It is not an independent workers' union after all."


* On the need to have independent workers' unions *


Mr. George Becker encourages Chinese workers to organize independent unions.  He said: "If they want to raise their position as workers, to improve their lives, they must establish independent workers' unions and start a workers' movement.  This is for sure." 


Mr. Wei Jingsheng also mentioned that a successful workers' movement relies on an independent and free workers' union.  "International society has always asked the Chinese government to permit for a free union, which is independent of the government.  However, the Chinese government has been strictly suppressing the establishment of such free unions.  Many of our friends inside China have tried to form independent unions and thus establish ties with international society on a more regular basis.  However, their effort has been severely suppressed."


* On the relation between democracy and workers' movements *


In talking about the relationship between workers' movements and social democracy, George Becker thinks that workers' movements are the foundation of democracy.


He said: "Everyone is talking about democracy in China.  However, you must have a free workers' movement and then democracy will follow.  Democracy does not fall from sky.  It is not a reasonless gift the Communist leaders will offer to the people.  Democracy must come from the grassroots, from the working people and within the working people who are now on the lowest ground.  That is the source of democracy.  That is why a workers' movement is so important.  They must unite together and hold onto their standing points."


* On the origin of Chinese communism from Workers movements *


Wei JingSheng, who also started as a worker, told the reporter: "The Chinese Communist Party is very much afraid of a workers' movement, because that was how they started."


George Becker expressed his optimism during the interview, although he knows it is very difficult now.


He said: "Of course, it is difficult to be arrested, lose jobs, and be beaten.  That kind of thing will happen.  But they must continue, not give up.  If they can carry on, if they can unite together, to plan, to act, step by step, ultimately they will be successful."



(The Wei Jingsheng Foundation translated the English version from the VOA Chinese report, and is responsible for its accuracy.)



This is a message from WeiJingSheng.org


The Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition is dedicated to the promotion of human rights and democratization in China.  We appreciate your assistance and help in any means.  We pledge solidarity to all who struggle for human rights and democratic governance on this planet.


You are welcome to use or distribute this release.  However, please credit with this foundation and its website at: www.weijingsheng.org


Although we are unable to afford to pay royalty fees at this time, we are seeking your contribution as well.  You may send your articles, comments and opinions to: HCP@weijingsheng.org.  Please remember, only in text files, not in attachments.


You may contact Ciping Huang at: HCP@Weijingsheng.org or

1-301-693-2442 for emergency or

Wei Jingsheng Foundation office at: 1-202-543-1538 Fax: 1-202-543-1539


You are receiving this message because you had previous shown your interest in learning more about Mr. Wei Jingsheng and the Chinese Democratic Movement.  To be removed from the list, simply reply this message and use "unsubscribe" as the Subject.  Please allow us a few days to process your request.






Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A93-L5



Release Date: December 12, 2004



Topic: Workers Leaders Wei Jingsheng and George Becker Talk of the Workers' Movement in China (Voice of America)



Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)






美国之音 燕青报导





















































欢迎投稿(暂无稿费)或批评建议,请寄信箱:  HCP@WEIJINGSHENG.ORG


魏京生办公室地址: 415 East Capitol Street, SE, Suite 2

Washington, DC 20003-3810U.S.A.

电话: 1-202-543-1538 传真:1-202-543-1539

紧急联系:1-301-693-2442 (黄慈萍)





阁下之所以收到本信,是因为阁下以前曾表示有兴趣了解魏京生先生和中国民主运动。倘若阁下希望不再收到类似信息,请回复本信并用 unsubscribe作为主题(Subject)