12月3日，至少16名廣東勞工權利工作者被警方帶走、抄家或問話，截至發稿時，仍有八人被警方控制。這七人包括四名勞工機構負責人，廣州市「番禺 打工族服務部」負責人曾飛洋、佛山市「南飛雁社會工作服務中心」負責人何曉波、廣州「海哥勞工服務部」（原廣東勞維律師事務所工人培訓部）負責人陳輝海和 番禺區「勞動者互助小組」負責人彭家勇，以及四名與這些機構有工作聯繫的人士，朱小梅、何明輝、三木（化名）、鄧小明、孟晗。其中陳輝海處於軟禁狀態，可 聯繫上但被警方控制不知名地點，其他人均失聯。
資深廣東勞工權利工作者肖魏（化名）指出，此次波及的人員全都曾在「番禺打工族服務部」工作，另外據他了解，針對曾飛洋的調查已經持續了一段時間： 大約一周之前，廣州市荔灣區逢源街環衛工罷工，獨立工人新聞平台「錘子之聲」的編輯王福菊在旁圍觀被傳喚，當時曾飛洋也在現場，王出來後小魏得知她被問及 的都是關於曾的內容，而曾飛洋也向小魏表示自己可能會很快被抓。
肖魏說：「這次很明顯是有比較高級的統籌布局。從一些朋友被問話的內容可以看出，當局是要把實際上幾個各自獨立的勞工機構『證明為』由曾飛洋為首的 一個集團，很有可能以此加大監控力度。」他認為，這次對廣佛兩地勞工機構的打擊，布局已久，「向陽花」、「南飛雁」從年中就被要求注銷註冊：「這是當局在 經濟形勢下滑，試圖加大社會控制力度的表現，表面上是打擊勞工機構，實質是在打擊工人的運動。曾、駱、陳、彭的機構都是以積極的姿態推進工人集體談判，當 局打擊他們的機構，其實也是當局對工人集體談判的合法訴求說不。」
廣東勞工NGO（其他地方幾乎沒有較有行動力的勞工組織）受到警方的密切關注和打壓早已不是新聞，經濟形勢的持續滑坡也暗示著工人運動增多的可能， 但近期並沒有大規模的罷工事件，勞工組織的活動也並不活躍，現有的勞工組織也遠遠沒有組織跨區域罷工的跡象和能力，警方此時大面積「動手」，出乎許多人的 意料。
另一方面，廣東最近其實相當「熱鬧」，一些具有全國影響力的案件被處理。11月19日，聲援香港佔中後被捕的謝文飛、王默涉嫌「煽動顛覆國家政權」 案在一年多後在廣州中院開庭審理；11月27日，2013年初街頭聲援《南方周末》後當年8月被捕，關押已超過兩年、開庭後遲遲沒有結果的郭飛雄、孫德勝 「聚眾擾亂公共場所秩序」案宣判，郭飛雄匪夷所思地被法官親自罪加「尋釁滋事」一條，共判六年，孫德勝判兩年半；在2013年更早被抓的「南方街頭運動」 人士劉遠東，在同日宣判獲刑3年。
從去年底「佔中」系列案開始，政權安保已從各地為政的「維穩模式」轉向統一部署的「國安模式」，並逐步正式投入運轉。今年針對民間的打擊應當說是從 3月7日的女權案正式開始的，4月女權五姐妹獲釋後，她們部分人所在的反歧視機構「益仁平」被外交部「點名」違法；5、6月有多家與「益仁平」相關的反歧 視機構被調查、部分負責人被抓，各地有大量NGO被騷擾和要求注銷；賈靈敏案5月開庭，唐荊陵案6月開庭；同時屠夫吳淦和山東訪民被抓，「維權模式」大案 初現端倪；7月著名的「709律師大抓捕」正式爆發，各種動作延燒到8月。
8月中到11月，對於飽經「戰火」的民間似乎比較消停，但最高權力仍「忙著」卻是顯而易見。8月是緊鑼密鼓的閱兵準備期，北京全城乃至全國幾進入 「戒嚴」狀態；9月閱兵後緊接著就是訪美和出席聯合國大會；從美洲回來沒消停幾天，就開始了歐洲五國訪問和訪英；10月23日訪英結束，11月上旬大概是 最適合用「暴風雨前的平靜」來形容的時刻（也不是真正的平靜，公安部11月14日宣稱新疆特警經過56日追擊，近日對當地恐怖分子發動「總攻擊」，擊殺一 批恐怖分子）……然後「民間清場」從南方開始繼續。
By Zhao Sile(赵思乐)
On December 3rd, at least 19 labour rights workers in Guangdong were taken away or questioned, or have their homes raided by the police. Up till the publication deadline, ten people were still under the control of the police. Among them, 4 people are person-in-charge of labour rights organizations, including Zeng FeiYang(曾飞洋) of Guangzhou’s Panyu Service Department for Peasant Workers(番禺打工族服务部); He Xiaobo(何晓波), from Foshan Nanfeiyian Social Service Centre(南飞雁社会工作服务中心); Chen Huihai(陈辉海), from Guangzhou’s Haige Labour Service Center(海哥劳工服务部)(previously Guangdong Weiquan Lawyer Firm Workers Training Unit, 广东劳维律师事务所工人培训部); and Peng Jiayong(彭家勇) from Panyu’s Laborer Mutual Aid Group(劳动者互助小组). The other 6 people, including Zhu Xiaomei(朱小梅), Tang Jian(汤建), Xin Minyan(辛敏妍), Chen Yingying(陈莹莹), Deng Xiaoming(邓小明), and Meng Han(孟晗), are related to the above-mentioned organizations because of their works. Among them, Chen Huihai is under house arrest and can be contacted, but is under the control of the police at an unknown place. The other people cannot be reached.
When the police raided the house of Zeng FeiYang’s ex-colleague, they showed a document that says “The authority is investigating Zeng and company’s actions of gathering the crowds to disturb social and public order." And when they raided He Xiaobo’s home, they told his wife that He Xiaobo is suspected of duty encroachment. Labour rights activists in Guangdong analysed the situation, and said it is very likely that this wave of suppression would be aiming for Zeng and He at the end.
In the evening of Dec 3rd, Zeng、He and Zhu Xiaomei’s families received a formal arrest warrant.
Ye(pseudonym), a seasoned labour rights worker in Guangdong, pointed out that the people affected by this wave of suppression have all worked in Panyu Service Department for Peasant Workers. According to his knowledge, the investigation on Zeng has been going for quite some time. About one week ago, a strike by sanitation workers happened at Guangzhou’s Liwan District Fengyuan Street. Wang Fuju(王福菊), the editor of the independent news platform for workers, The Voice of Hammer(锤子之声), was observing the strike and was taken away by the police. Zeng was also there when the strike happened. After Wang was released, her colleagues learned that the questions she was asked were all related to Zeng. Zeng once told Ye that he expected himself to be arrested in the near future.
Ye said, “It is very apparent that these actions are carefully planned. Our friends were questioned, and according to the contents of the questions, the authority is trying to ‘prove’ that the individual independent labour rights organizations are all under a group leaded by Zeng, and use that as an excuse to increase the intensity of surveillance and control."
Looking at these suppressions against labour rights organizations in Guangdong and Foshan, Ye thought that the authority had started planning for it a long time ago. Sunflower Female Workers Center(向阳花女工中心) and Nanfeiyian had been asked to cancel their organization registration since the middle of the year. “These showed that the authority is trying to increase its control over the society during an economic downturn. It looks like an attack on the labour organizations on the surface, but actually they are trying to suppress the labour movement. Zeng, He, Chen and Peng’s organizations are all actively pushing for collective bargaining. When the authority attacks these organizations, they are in fact saying ‘no’ to the worker’s legal rights to collective bargaining at the same time."
He added: “China’s economic downturn has expressed itself in the form of decreasing exports, and hardships experienced by the steel and coal industry. This is a manifestation of China’s structural contradiction of excessive productive capacity, which was caused by the country’s long-standing export-oriented economic policy. Many people analysed that the real economic winter would arrive next year, and when it comes I believe the authority would increase the intensity of social control even further, and keep attacking the civil society."
It is no news that labour rights NGOs in Guangdong(it seems that outside of Guangdong, there are not too many labour organizations that are relatively proactive) are under the tight scrutiny of and frequently attacked by the police. The economic downturn also means that the workers may fight for their rights more frequently. However, there were no large-scale strikes recently. Also, the labour organizations are not active, and they are far from having the capacity and tendency to organize strikes that encompass different geographic regions. Given that the situation is relatively calm, it is surprising to many people that the police would take such a large-scale offensive at this moment.
From another perspective, however, Guangdong is actually quite “lively" at the moment. On Nov 19th, the trial of Xie Wenfei(谢文飞) and Wang Mo(王默), who were charged with “inciting subversion of state power" after they showed supports to Hong Kong’s Occupy Central Movement, finally commenced in the Guangzhou Intermediate Court, more than one year after their arrests. On Nov 27, after a long wait since their first trial, Guo Feixiong(郭飞雄)and Sun Desheng(孙德胜), who were being charged with “gathering the crowds to disturb social and public order", were finally sentenced. They were arrested in August 2013 for showing support to Southern Weekly (a.k.a Southern Weekend) publicly at the start of the year, and had been locked up by the authority for more than two years. To the puzzlement of everyone, the judge decided to personally add “affray" to the list of crimes that Guo was being charged, and sentenced him to six years in prison. Sun was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Liu Yuandong(刘远东), who participated in the Southern Street Movement and who was arrested even earlier in 2013, were sentenced to three years in prison on the same day.
Why, then, does the authority think now is the time to deal with the thorns in its side that are the labour organizations, and the democracy advocates the authority has been putting aside? Why does it decide to deal with the two forces at the same time at this particular moment, after such a long delay?
Since the cases related to Occupy Central started last year, the authority’s security system had changed its mode of operation. Before, it was in “stabilization mode", in which the local authorities decide what they should be doing. After that, the system started changing into “national security mode", in which the national government is centrally organizing and coordinating the whole country’s security measures. It is probably correct to say that this year’s suppressions on the civil society began with the attack on the “Feminist 5″ who were involved in an action on March 7th. In April, after the Feminist 5 were released, Yi Ren Ping(益仁平), the anti-discrimination organization that some of them were involved in, was picked out and declared illegal by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During May and June, quite a few anti-discrimination organizations that are related to Yi Ren Ping were investigated, with some of the persons-in-charge taken away, and many NGOs were harassed and asked to cancel their registrations. The trial of Jia Lingmin(贾灵敏)’s case started in May, while that of Tang Jingling(唐荆陵)’s commenced in June. At the same time, Wu Gan, also known as “Super Vulgar Butcher" on the Internet, and the petitioners from Shandong were caught. From these incidents, we started to catch a glimpse of the big cases under “national security mode". Then the famous “July 9th Crackdown" on lawyers erupted, which lasted until August.
From the mid-August to November, it seemed that the situation had calmed down a little bit for the civil society which had been “under fire", but it is also obvious that the authority was still very “busy". In August, the government was busily preparing for the military parade, with the whole Beijing and, in fact, the whole country virtually under martial law. Following the parade in September, the authority visited USA and participated in the United Nation Assembly. A few days after visiting America, the government started the visits to five European countries and Britain, which ended on October 23rd. Perhaps the best description for the first half of November is “the calm before the storm"(Actually that was not really the case, as the Public Security Bureau declared on November 14th that after a 56-day-long offensive, the Special Police Unit of Xinjiang had started an all-out assault on the terrorists and killed a lot of them.) — maybe it only took them a few internal notices to re-ignite the crackdown on the civil society, starting from the South.
It is like a person was cleaning up the house, but it was time to visit a few friends, so he dropped the task at hand, closed the door(the human rights lawyers were not allowed to leave the country) and went outside. After he went home, he on one hand pressed the “clean" button on the cleaning robot, and on the other hand threw the properly-handled and well-contained garbage away.
It seems that the authority is not administering the country; it is administering its home. Or maybe it does not know the differences between the two. A totalitarian regime has its own agenda(OK, not “agenda", since there is actually nothing to discuss. It should be called “arrangement".); if a totalitarian regime sees anything or anybody or any events in its home that it does not like, it treats them as garbage that is to be disposed of. What is more terrifying is that a totalitarian regime cannot stop from doing it: it maintains its sense of security and existence through removing things it does not like.
Civil rights organizations were removed, independent research institutes were removed, anti-discrimination organizations were removed, human rights lawyers were removed, grassroot activists were removed, and now it is the labour organizations’ turn…… six or twelve months later, what we will see is only an unending piece of whiteness.