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+++ China's Leaders Confront an Unlikely Foe: Ardent Young Communists +++ Labour activists disappeared in suspected raids +++ Chinese Activists attracted attention in August when about fifty students/graduates converged in Huizhou to support factory workers +++ Activists went missing in recent days in what is suspected to be a coordinated effort to silence the vocal group, mostly university students or recent graduates +++ Authorities took away at least nine activists in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and three more activists were taken away in the city of Wuhan, sources told Reuters news agency +++ The Ministry of Public Security, which oversees police forces across the country, did not respond to a request for comment +++




"I think the authorities have decided now is the right time to settle the score," one student activist at a university in Beijing said. "The authorities want to shut down the Group in one fell swoop. Why else would they suddenly conduct raids of such a large scale and arrest so many people at once?" the student added, speaking on condition of anonymity.



Activists in Shenzhen protested in support of workers' rights. Their banners call for the punishment of corrupt police officials and the release of detained factory workers. [Sue-Lin Wong]


The Unlikely Foe: Ardent Young Communists


::: They're exactly what China's best universities are supposed to produce :::


They read Marx, Lenin and Mao and formed student groups to discuss the progress of socialism. They investigated the treatment of the campus proletariat, including janitors, cooks and construction workers. They volunteered to help struggling rural families and recited President Xi Jinping.


Then, after graduation, some attempted to put the stated ideals into action; converging from across China to organize labor unions at nearby factories and stage protests demanding greater protections for workers; carrying portraits of Mao and singing socialist anthems; voicing grievances about issues like poverty, worker rights and gender equality.


The young activists called each other comrade and wore T-shirts with images of clenched fists and the slogan, "Unity is strength"; they marched alongside workers, holding banners that declared, "Forming unions is not a crime."; they staged re-enactments of the abuse the workers said they endured at the factory.


"We are Marxists. We praise socialism. We stand with workers. The authorities can't target us." 


But they have.


The authorities moved quickly to crush their efforts. On the morning of Aug. 24, police officers wearing riot gear raided a four-bedroom apartment and detained the young activists; also the internet has been scrubbed of their calls for justice.


As the police burst through the door, the activists held hands and sang "L'Internationale."


Though some have been released, some activists and workers remain in custody or under house arrest, according to labor rights advocates. The local police accused the workers of acting on behalf of foreign nongovernmental organizations.


Their example became a rallying cry for young people across the country unhappy with growing inequality, corruption and materialism in Chinese society.


Since President Xi took power in 2012, The Party has sought to restrict the use of Western textbooks and stop the spread of "Western values" on campus, referring to ideas about rule of law and democracy that could undermine its hold on power.


At the same time, Xi has demanded that universities expand their teachings on Mao and Marx. In May, he visited Peking University and encouraged students to promote Marxism, saying it was important for the university to "take Marxism as its surname."


But some in the party seem uneasy about the proliferation of student groups devoted to Marxism and Maoism, apparently worried that their calls for greater economic equality and worker rights could undermine China's modern-day embrace of capitalist markets.


While only a small minority of students are involved, they represent a leftist critique of Chinese society that seems to be gaining traction on college campuses, partly because the authorities have been more hesitant to suppress it than other political discussion.On the Chinese internet, thousands of young people participate in vibrant Maoist and Marxist chat rooms, and some have started leftist news websites, posting commentary on topics like pollution, globalization and economic theory, without much interference by censors, until recently.


+++ Last Friday, unidentified men grabbed Zhang Shengye, a recent Peking University graduate, on the university's campus at around 10:30pm and bundled him into a car, according to a witness and screenshots of posts, apparently written by students, on the university's internal messaging board. The posts were later deleted. +++


 


Zhang Shengye 



A video circulated on social media by a Peking University student who said he was at the scene and who described what happened to Zhang. "I heard one of them yell 'that's him, shove him into the car', and then I saw three to five people grab a student and bundle him into a car," the student said in the video. He said he and other students who were nearby were pushed to the ground and prevented from leaving until they deleted any photos or videos of the scene.


 A Peking University spokesman confirmed someone had been detained but said the incident did not involve teachers or students.


"Public security organs, in accordance with law, seized non-campus affiliated persons suspected of committing a crime," the spokesman said.


Zhang had been in southern China in August to protest against the treatment factory workers and had been involved in a wide range of social issues on campus.


"We aren't solely focused on one particular issue. We're interested in improving society in all kinds of ways, whether it is improving the lives of factory workers, fighting for gender equality or advocating for environmental sustainability," Zhang said in August.


Sources: nytimes.com (28.09.18) | aljazeera.com (12.11.18)


 


1: "We will never give up." | "We swear to fight the evil forces until the end." | "We are here because we are deeply aware that what we do is legal and just." | "We are here because we want to repay the workers with what we have learned for so many years." | "We are here because we don't want to believe that dark forces can laugh malignantly in the world we inhabit." | "You are the backbone of the working class!" | "We share your honor and your disgrace!"


 


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posted by I. Z. Nessuno-Raskolnikov


 

Discussion 8 Comments

  • Irie Zen 16th Nov 2018

  • Irie Zen 16th Nov 2018

     


    "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend."


    "An army without culture is a dull-witted army, and a dull-witted army cannot defeat the enemy."


    "A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery."


    "There is in fact no such thing as art for art's sake, art that stands above classes, art that is detached from or independent of politics. Proletarian literature and art are part of the whole proletarian revolutionary cause."


    "The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea."


    "Passivity is fatal to us. Our goal is to make the enemy passive."


     

  • Irie Zen 16th Nov 2018

    Had Mao died in 1956, his achievements would have been immortal. Had he died in 1966, he would still have been a great man but flawed. But he died in 1976. Alas, what can one say?

    — Chen Yun, a leading Communist Party official under Mao and Deng Xiaoping

  • Irie Zen 16th Nov 2018

     


    I member my Little Red Book. And Mango Fever!


     

  • Irie Zen 16th Nov 2018