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Labor Service Organization Closed on National Day; NGOs in China under Increasing Pressure

The Mumian Social Work Association (MSWA), a Guangdong based labor related non-governmental organization, announced the launch of its closing procedure on China’s National Day (October 1), four months after the arrest of its founder Tong Feifei. Local labor rights activists have observed that NGOs in China have little room for survival. The authorities are mounting a cruel suppression of NGO leaders in the name of national security.

In April 2013, Tong Feifei, a Peking University master of sociology, established MSWA. It has launched community development and vocational school students’ service programs in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhongshan and Shunde. It also conducted social work training and research, as well as public advocacy for social issues. The authorities once recognized its low-key style.

It is believed that the closure of MSWA is related to the Jasic Incident last year. In July 2018, a group of workers from the Shenzhen based Jasic Technology Co., Ltd. (abbr. Jasic) sought to form a labor union to address their low pay and poor working conditions. The factory management responded by firing its employees. This sparked two weeks of protests and demonstrations drawing from both factory workers in Shenzhen along with students. The police crushed the movement and arrested the workers and students.

Right after the Jasic Incident, the authorities started immediately to suppress all civil NGOs involved in labor rights or care giving. In May of this year, the heads of several NGOs including Tong Feifei, Liang Zicun, Li Dajun, and Li Changjiang were arrested. In July, the National Security Bureau in Changsha, Hunan province, arrested a few other activists working on labor discrimination.

Source: Radio Free Asia, October 1, 2019