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China students missing after riot police storm apartment to stop protest

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huizhou china riot police
China’s
riot police clash with student activists in a video purported to
be from Huizhou on Friday morning.

Sue-Lin Wong/Twitter

  • A video shows Chinese riot police bursting into an
    apartment in southern China to stop student activists from
    protesting the next day.
  • The students had traveled from across the country to
    support workers

    fired and arrested for trying
    to organize a labor union, Reuters reported.
  • They had been staying in an apartment in Huizhou to
    organize their efforts, the news agency said.
  • They have not been seen since the police stormed the
    apartment, according to other activists following the
    case.
  • The Chinese Communist Party opposes labor activism,
    unions, and grassroots protests.
  • Authorities had reportedly also been asking the
    students’ parents and universities to dissuade them from
    protesting.

Around forty student activists have gone missing after riot
police stormed an apartment to stop them from staging a protest,
other Chinese activists said on Friday.

The students had been staying in Huizhou, southern China, to
support a widespread protest in solidarity with factory workers
seeking to form a labor union,
Reuters reported
.

Video footage posted on Friday showed riot police, wearing
helmets and carrying shields, burst into the apartment and
scuffle with the students, who can be heard shouting.

Reuters said it couldn’t independently verify the video, but
other labor activists in China have
confirmed
it on Twitter.

Watch it below:

The episode, which took place around 5 a.m. local time on Friday,
ended with the police arresting everybody in the flat, according
to a statement
tweeted on Friday
by an activist group dedicated to those
students.

It’s not clear what has happened to the people in the video.
Reuters said that neither local police nor five activists who had
been staying at the apartment answered their calls. Other labor
activists following the case also said they hadn’t been able to
contact the students.


huizhou china students
Student
activists pictured in an apartment in Huizhou, China, on
Thursday. Police burst into this apartment on Friday, and the
students’ whereabouts are not known.

Sue-Lin Wong/Reuters


huizhou china student activists.JPG
The
student activists in the Huizhou apartment on
Thursday.

Sue-Lin
Wong/Reuters


The missing students had been demonstrating in support of workers
at Jasic Technology, a welding machinery company in Shenzhen. The
workers had been fired and arrested for their attempts to form a
labor union. At least 30 of Jasic’s workers were detained for
their efforts,
the Financial Times reported earlier this month
.

Students across China’s universities also started publishing
online petitions in support of the workers, the FT said. Many of
them saw their petitions censored and their email addresses
suspended.

The video below shows students protesting in solidarity with the
workers while holding images of Mao Zedong in Beijing. One of
them accused the Chinese state of locking up the workers “because
they are scared.”

China’s efforts to clamp down on these protests

The Chinese Communist Party opposes labor activism and
independent unions. It also
disapproves of grassroots protests
, as they are seen to
undermine the party and disrupt the country’s stability.

The state had been trying hard to clamp down on the students’
protests for days, Reuters reported.

Authorities flew many of the activists’ parents to Guangdong, a
city near Huizhou and Shenzhen, housed them in hotels, and gave
“training sessions” on how to raise their children, Reuters
reported, citing some of the students.

The sessions included lecturing the parents on what to text their
children, and arranging for the parents to show up at various
places where their children were, such as the Huizhou apartment
and shopping streets, Reuters said.

The Ministry of Education also told the students’ universities to
tell the students not to stage the protests, the news agency
said, citing the students.

The universities sent texts to the students citing reasons such
as an impending typhoon and the risk of being recruited into a
pyramid scheme as reasons why they shouldn’t go. The ministry did
not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

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