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Uphold the Constitution, Respect and Ensure Human Rights, Support Honda Workers' Just Struggles, Condemn Foxconn's Inhumane Management

posted 16 Jun 2010, 10:47 by Admin uk   [ updated 16 Jun 2010, 10:48 ]
Uphold the Constitution, Respect and Ensure Human Rights, Support Honda Workers' Just Struggles, Condemn Foxconn's Inhumane Management 

Li Chengrui (Former Director of the State Statistic Bureau) 
(June 6, 2010) 

To: 
General Secretary Hu Jintao and Members of the Central
Party Committee, 

Chairman Wu Bangguo of the People's Congress 

Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice Premiers, and Members of the
State Council 

Compatriots throughout China, and all Media Outlets: 

There have recently occurred numerous incidents in our
country that signal intensified social contradictions.
According to media reports, Shenzhen-based Foxconn with
Taiwanese investment have treated workers as machines
(or worse, just spare parts!) to generate profit for
the company and instituted an inhumane management
system that destroys the health and spirit of workers
to the extent that some have felt that life is not
worth living. Thirteen workers in this company have
jumped to their own deaths in a short period of time. 
Their tragic deaths break our hearts.  It is a
situation that has shocked the world!

Based in Foshan, Guangdong, Honda Auto Parts
Manufacturing Co., Ltd. is a Japanese-owned company.
While the capitalist owner has made a huge profit, the
wages are too low to support workers' livelihoods and
the company's union does not represent the interest of
the workers. Nearly two thousand workers have gone on
strike in their struggle for wage increases and to
initiate a reform of the union. But the Japanese
management only agreed to a small increase, far from
what the workers have asked.  Moreover, the management
unjustifiably demanded workers to sign a "no strike"
commitment and threatened to fire workers who take part
in the strike. They indeed fired two leaders among the
workers.

Other incidents in the media also show increased
conflict between capital and labor. Some workers in
Chongqing Qijiang Gear Transmission Co. Ltd were forced
to work overtime during weekends and died from
overwork. The long-term exhaustion, low pay and
management corruption led workers to strike. Close to
1700 workers from Taisheng Furniture Company, based in
Dongguan, Guangdong Province, had a three-day strike to
protest against overstress and low pay. Over a thousand
workers in the spare parts factory that supply
Beijing-based Hyundai went on a strike to demand a pay
raise. Workers at Lanzhou Vinylon Company went on
strike because they cannot sustain a basic livelihood.
In Datong City (Shanxi Province), the state-owned
enterprise Xinghuo Pharmaceutical Company was forced
into bankruptcy and its laid-off workers had their
numerous petitions refused. Following this, over 10,000
people staged a sit-in at the municipal government
building; some of them were beaten up by armed police.
Workers on strike from Pingdingshan Cotton Spinning
Mill (Henan Province) were brutally beaten by thugs
brought in by police vehicles, resulting in injuries of
many women workers. In Shenzhen workers who are taking
the lead to demand back pay or protect workers' rights
have had their names placed on various blacklist, which
makes it difficult for them to obtain employment. These
are just some of the recent incidents that illustrate
the scope of the problem.

On the whole, the bourgeoisie have transferred the
burdens of the economic crisis onto the workers and
have waged a more fierce attack on them. The working
class is forced to rise up and resist. But as workers
have become a weak social group in recent years, and
with the deprivation of basic rights prescribed by our
country's constitution, they are in the sad situation
where their deaths are unanswered, their strikes
unsupported, and their grievances unheard. According to
our country's constitution, particularly the four basic
principles and the basic rights accorded to citizens,
we issue the following appeal to address the current
situation and problems.1

First, we should firmly support workers in Foshan Honda
and other factories in their just struggles for
survival and against oppression. Article 33 of our
country's constitution states, "the state respects and
ensures human rights." The right to strike is an
inseparable part of human rights and is also a basic
civic right prescribed by constitutions around the
world. We firmly support all reasonable demands that
Honda workers have raised so as to change their harsh
working conditions and low wages. We are strongly
opposed to the management's threat to fire workers. The
two leaders who were fired should be immediately given
back their jobs.

We believe that our call will be supported by all those
who uphold the authority of the constitution, respect
human rights and stand for justice.

Second, we should demand Foxconn and other similar
enterprises to immediately stop their inhumane and
harshly exploitative management methods. We demand that
the management respect workers' integrity and dignity,
obey the state laws, improve working conditions,
strictly implement a 8-hour working day and compensate
workers' for overtime. They must ensure that workers
are paid wages that are enough for their own sustenance
and their reproduction. This is the only way to
ameliorate labor-capital conflicts and reduce or
prevent the so-called "psychological" problems.  To
elide the fundamental labor-capital contradiction by
one-sidedly emphasizing "psychological counseling" is
to intentionally cover up the contradiction and to
confuse cause with effect. It has been reported by the
media that some who committed suicide also showed signs
of bodily injuries caused by beating.  There was also
suspicion of some being pushed off buildings. These
already warrant a criminal investigation. Government
agencies should deal with it seriously and find out the
truth.

Third, unions should clearly stand on the side of the
working class to represent and uphold the interests of
the working class as prescribed by the constitution. If
any union organization ignores the constitution and
"take the boss' shillings and do the boss' bidding,"
then they will be spurned by the working class. The
leadership of the union in each enterprise must be
democratically elected by its members. Relatives and
representatives of the bosses should not be allowed to
take any leadership position in the union. If such a
case is found, it should not be approved by the union
at higher levels.  The union at higher levels should
instead help such enterprise-based unions organize an
all-members meeting and help rebuild the enterprise's
union through democratic election.

Fourth, government at all levels, particularly the
local government should protect civic rights by
strictly following the law, earnestly resolve
labor-capital conflicts and ensure citizens' freedom of
speech. Government should administer according to the
law and should prevent and stop incidents that violate
basic civic rights prescribed by article 33 of the
constitution and other related regulations. It should
actively deal with cases of labor-capital conflicts
according to the law. Ignoring workers' reasonable
demands either through inaction or siding with
management should be resolutely corrected.  In order
to ensure people's right to information and right to
supervision, media should be allowed to freely and
truthfully report on labor-capital conflicts and other
cases and convey people's voices without obstruction
and interference.

Fifth, we call for the restoration of the working class
as the leading class of our country and the
re-establishment of socialist public ownership as the
mainstay in our national economy. Article 1 of our
country's constitution states, "The People's Republic
of China is a socialist state led by the working class
on the basis of a worker-peasant alliance." Article 6
of the constitution states, "The basis of socialist
economy of the People's Republic of China is socialist
public ownership of means of production, that is, all
people's ownership and laborers' collective ownership."
"In the primitive phase of socialism, the state should
build an economic system with public ownership as the
mainstay and co-development of the economy through
other ownership forms. Distribution should be based
mainly on each according to his/her labor, with
co-existence of other distributive methods." The
Chinese Communist Party must be the real vanguard of
the working class, strengthen its leadership of the
people's polity, and reinforce the people's democratic
dictatorship. We call for a reestablishment of public
ownership as the principle part of the national
economy. Only in this way can workers, peasants and
people in general become masters of enterprises and the
country and truly implement a distribution system
primarily based on labor contribution. At present, it
is imperative to improve working conditions and
increase wages and benefits in the private economy
(funded by domestic and foreign investments). It is
completely just to actively support workers' struggles
towards that end. But in so far as the capitalist
privately-owned economy rather than the socialist
publicly-owned economy dominates, the working class
cannot change their weak position under structures of
exploitation, nor the unfair distribution system and
the disparity between the rich and poor. Under this
condition, it is also impossible to transform our
export-oriented economy to one that is independent,
self-reliant and seeks to satisfy the material and
cultural needs of people in the country.

Based on the present conditions, it will only be
through a long-term struggle that the working class can
restore its leadership position and the national
economy can be transformed into one primarily based on
public ownership. We have the guidance of
Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and have the
constitution, particularly the four basic principles at
its core, as our legal instrument.  All members of the
Communist Part and all people should abide by the
constitution. The socialist modernization that we
uphold fits the interest of the broadest range of
people and corresponds with historical development of
mankind. If all people who support socialism, love
their country, and abide by the constitution are united
and persistent, then through a long-term struggle, we
will be able to realize our goal.

Signatories:

Li Chengrui (Former Director of the State Statistic
Bureau)

Gong Xiantian (Professor of Beijing University)

Han Xiya (Former Alternate Secretary of the Secretariat
of All-China Federation of Trade Unions)

Liu Rixin (Former Researcher at the State Planning
Commission)

Zhao Guangwu (Professor at Beijing University)
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