Protecting workers’ rights no excuse for illegal investigation

By Liu Jianxi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/7 23:28:39

The Western media has been hyping up the detention of three activists that were apparently investigating working conditions in Chinese factories that make products for a number of foreign brands. The media wants to join the bandwagon in blaming China for its "crackdowns" on labor rights activists. The West has gone too far. The trio, all Chinese nationals, are suspected of using illegal professional surveillance equipment and interfering with the operation of the factories. The detentions are lawful and a Chinese internal matter in which no other country has the right to intervene.

The activists are reported to have conducted undercover "investigations" for the New York-based advocacy group China Labor Watch (CLW). According to its website, the group was established to increase the "transparency of supply chains and labor conditions," advocate for "workers' rights" and support "the Chinese labor movement." China welcomes efforts to protect and enhance labor rights, but undercover investigations defy China's laws and regulations, let alone the use of illegal surveillance equipment.

Anyone with basic legal knowledge must be clear that any activity in China must abide by Chinese laws, and any wrongdoer must be handled in strict accordance with the law. China's detention of the activists is justified, lawful and beyond reproach.

The Western media stresses that the activists were detained for "investigating the working conditions" of Chinese laborers. It seems to them any act can beat the rap under the umbrella of "protecting workers' rights." How can that be possible?

"Protecting workers' rights" cannot be used as an excuse for illegal undercover investigations and the use of surveillance gadgets that are not allowed in factories. How would Washington react if a Chinese advocacy group conducted undercover investigations in the US?

The New York Times (NYT) even shared how it managed to publish two in-depth articles within a day and a half since the detention. "My editors and I decided I should revisit the company" after being informed by CLW Director Li Qiang that one of the undercover investigators "had been stopped from leaving the Chinese mainland by border police," the reporter wrote.

Respect for local laws is a basic requirement for journalists. However, the NYT reporters disregarded the CLW's illegal undercover practices and hyped up the issue, an act that reflects no journalistic professionalism or ethics.

The Chinese government will continue to protect its workers' rights, but meanwhile will not tolerate any unlawful act in Chinese enterprises. The case is being dealt in accordance with the law, and the Western media is hoped to keep its nose out of China's domestic affairs.



Posted in: OBSERVER

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