‘Everyone is getting locked up’: As workers grow disgruntled, China strikes at labor activists

From the Washington Post:

When the young labor activist and blogger Chén Wěixiáng 陈伟祥 helped street cleaners in southern China campaign for better wages by organizing demonstrations and publicizing their case online in 2014, he succeeded in winning them improved conditions.

When he tried again this month, acting for a different set of laborers, he did not.

Chinese authorities seized the prominent activist last week and punished him with a jail stint of at least two weeks for “provoking quarrels and stirring troubles,” according to a person with direct knowledge of his case who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of official reprisal.

The case of the U.S.-educated Chen, who ran a microblog called “Heart Sanitation,” illustrates how a brand of nonviolent labor activism that was once tolerated by Chinese authorities is now off-limits in a country facing stiff economic head winds and deepening political insecurity.

—Jeremy Goldkorn