A Letter from a Regional OHS Network: Release the iLabour Three

Aug 02, 2019
A Letter from a Regional OHS Network: Release the iLabour Three
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Today a network of regional OHS organizations is calling for the release of Yang Zhengjun, Wei Zhili, and Ke Chengbing, the three iLabour editors and labor activists who were detained for supporting Hunan pneumoconiosis workers’ fight for occupational health compensation. They have sent their letter to local authorities to call for the iLabour Three’s release.

A Letter from a regional OHS network to call on the release of Labour activists YANG Zhengjun, WEI Zhili, and KE Chengbing



Song Yiya, Director of Shenzhen City Pingshan District Security Bureau

Wang Shiangyang, Prosecuter General of Pingshan District Shenzhen City People’s Procuratorate

Xu Wenhai, Director of Shenzhen City Security Bureau

He xun, Prosecuter General of Shenzhen City People’s Procuratorate

Li Chunsheng, Director of Guangdong Province Security Bureau

Lin Yiying, Prosecuter General of Guangdong Province People’s Procuratorate

Wang Dongming, Chairman, All-China Federation of Trade Union








1st August 2019

On January 8th, the police stormed an urban village residence and detained “iLabour” website editor Yang Zhengjun.Three months later, on March 20th, police detained another two editors —Wei Zhili and KeChengbing. The three activists collaborate to produce “iLabour”, an independent online labour rights media platform. They have coveredworker stories and provided workers with a platform for legal consultation. At the time of their arrest, they were reporting and supporting a struggle of construction workers from Hunan, who have been working in Shenzhen to do blast hole drilling in Shenzhen in the 1990s, to claim their compensation where many of them were diagnosed with pneumoconiosis when return to their hometown.

2019年1月8日,警察闯入城中村单位,抓捕“新生代”网站编辑杨郑君。三个月不到,3月20日,警察又再抓捕另外两名“新生代” 编辑危志立和柯成兵。三位记者长期合力经营劳权自媒体平台“新生代”,报导工人相关的新闻和故事,并且提供劳权法律谘询。“新生代”三位记者被抓捕时,正紧密报导和支持湖南建筑工人追讨赔偿的斗争,这些建筑工人于1990年代在深圳从事爆破和风钻的工作,但回到家乡后却诊断出患上尘肺病。

The three “iLabour” activists began supporting pneumoconiosis workers’ struggle in early 2018 by providing them with labor law consultation and sending out updates of the struggle in Shenzhen online, where to petition for more than 10 times, to make their plight visible to the public. Harassment and suppression of the iLabour editors began as early as June 2018, when Ke was summoned by police for questioning about a piece on the pneumoconiosis struggle. In the same month, Yang was apprehended by police at the scene of the pneumoconiosis protests and taken in for questioning. The editors received other threatening calls from police as they continued to report on the case. On January 8th, one day after fifty pneumoconiosis workers who were forcibly sent back to Hunan police after another attempt to petition to the Shenzhen government, Yang Zhengjun was arrested in Guangzhou. After Yang’s arrest, Wei Zhili and KeChengbing continued to help the workers and provided them with legal advice. On March 20, Wei and Ke were also arrested in Guangzhou.

由2018年年初开始,数百位湖南尘肺病工人为了让他们艰难的处境为大众所知,至深圳上访超过十次,三位“新生代”编辑亦由2018年年初开始透过报导他们维权的即时消息,以及提供劳动法的谘询。然而自2018年年中,当局就开始打压和骚扰“新生代”的记者们,6月,杨郑君被警察强制传唤并审问一篇关于尘肺病维权的报导文章是否出自于他的手笔,又在尘肺病工人抗议的现场被抓捕和接受审讯。 1月8日,五十位尘肺病工人在深圳上访后被强行送回湖南之后一日,杨郑君被捕。危志立和柯成兵由于继续支持湖南的工人,也于3月20日被捕。

The local policetold Yang and Wei’s families that they were arrested for helping pneumoconiosis workers. Three of them were detained at the Shenzhen No. 2 Detention Center for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”, and transferred to “Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location” (hereafter RSDL ). All of their lawyers’ requestsfor meetings have been refused, and basic civil and political rights were being taken away. Their families are very concerned about their personal safety and well-beingsin such a secret detention.


We would like to address that helping pneumoconiosis workers to fight their compensation shouldn’t be a crime. The local government should not arbitrarily detain the “iLabour Three” due to their promotion of worker’ rights to health, a dignified life, and freedom of peaceful assembly through online platform. The poor situation of the pneumoconiosis workers is indeed the consequence of corporate violations against the labour law, and a reflection of local government ineffective enforcement of labour rules and regulations who fail to protect the health and basic rights of the workers. Instead of suppressing the voices ofworkers and activists by violence act and arbitrary detentions, the local government should ensure basic human rightswill be in place as follow:


Release Yang Zhengjun, Wei Zhili and KeChengbing immediately and unconditionally;


Ensure that they are free from any forms of torture or cruelty, inhumane and degrading treatment, and have regular access to their family and lawyer of theirchoice;


Resume the negotiation with the pneumoconiosis workers and carry out adequate compensation plan which workers voice are included.


Signed by:


Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV)


Scottish Hazards Centre


The European Work Hazards Network


Asia Citizens Center for Environmental and Health


Ban Asbestos Network Korea


Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC)


The Occupational and Environmental Network of India (OEHNI)


Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environmental Foundation (OSHE)


Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress (BFTUC)


Japan Occupational Safety and Health Resource Centre (JOSHRC)