ABP – UK News 24.
BEIJING – As China’s economy slows, strikes and worker protests across the country are escalating.
According to the China Labour Bulletin, the number of recorded incidents for 2015 was more than double the previous year.
The arrest of these workers’ rights activists follows the detention of hundreds of the country’s lawyers over the last 12 months, a small number of whom are now facing extremely serious charges.
Human rights groups warn that a concerted crackdown on civil society is under way.
“The situation in China has been deteriorating quite dramatically in the last year or two,” said William Nee of Amnesty International.
“We’ve seen crackdowns on feminists, crackdowns on labour rights organisations, human rights lawyers, ethnic minorities.
“So this is happening across the board to many people and now is the time for government and individuals to speak out.”
But thus far, at least publicly, there is little sign of the British government doing so.
The Chancellor, George Osborne, who has declared this a “golden era” of UK-China relations, was in Shanghai on Friday for a meeting of G20 finance ministers.
He has previously said he will not engage in “megaphone diplomacy” and these issues are raised more constructively in private.
Getty images AFP