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Chronology

Date Description / Notes Related Information
2003-06-27 Announced at a secret hearing that the appeals of both Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang have been rejected and the original sentences upheld.  
2003-05-21 Yao's and Xiao's lawyers both lodge an appeal to Liaoyang Intermediate People's Court. It is believed that due to the immense pressure put upon the original lawyers, new lawyers for Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang may have to be found.  
2003-05-09 Sentences for Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang are announced in the Liaoyang City Detention Centre. Yao is sentenced to seven years imprisonment, deprived of political rights for three years and Xiao to four years imprisonment and deprived of political rights for two years.

Before the hearing, more than 300 Ferroalloy Factory workers gather in front of the detention centre to show support for Yao and Xiao. Liaoyang municipal government sends some 300 policemen to guard the entrance of the centre. Only Yao Dan and Xiao Yu and two other workers are admitted to the hearing and the rest of the observers are police and officials from the provincial government. No media are allowed in. The final closing statements of the two men are not allowed to be heard. Their defense lawyers were only notified of the hearing date three days in advance and lawyer Mo Shaoping could not reach Liaoyang in time as he was requested to undergo ten days' quarantine for SARS.

After the hearing, Yao Dan and Xiao Yu are taken away by separate police vehicles. The wife of Xiao Yunliang is beaten to the ground when she tries to stop the police taking her daughter away. She is later taken to hospital and the daughters are released.
 
2003-04-21 At 8 am, police from Liaoyang PSB break into Yao's and Xiao's homes in order to stop their families contacting American embassy personnel and reporters. They remain in the house until 22 April.  
2003-04-19 In order to prevent American embassy personnel and reporters visiting Liaoyang from meeting workers' representatives, Liaoyang PSB detains many workers' representatives, including Wang Zhaoming, Pang Qingxiang and Wang Dawei. They are warned and threatened not to conduct any interviews.  
2003-04-17 Xiao Yunliang visits the doctor for the second time after the trial. His wife Su Anhua accompanies him. According to a detention center staff's description, the doctor said one eye was totally blind due to cataracts and the other one was almost blind due to "floaters". Su is forbidden to talk to the doctor directly.

Su goes to PSB every morning to urge them to provide Xiao with sufficient medical care.
 
2003-04-16 Workers' representative Gu Baoshu has been released on bail for a year but has not received any further notification about his case.

In the morning, about 15 Ferroalloy factory retirees, retrenched workers and Su Anhua go to the municipal government but are told that the government leaders and complaints office head are not there. Then they go to the court to look for Judge Nian Tiepeng. Nian is told by a retired worker that "we won’t allow it if you sentence them, they have been suffering for us for the entire year and no one knows when it will end. If you sentence them, we definitely won’t allow it. We will go to Beijing, to kneel down on the Tiananmen Square to appeal for them".
 
2003-04-15 Plainclothes police follow Yao Dan to Beijing. While she is talking to Mo Shaoping in a car, 2 cars and a motorcycle follow them. Guo Xiujing and Yao Dan later point out that they have to the right to speak to the lawyer. Yao Dan returns to Liaoyang at night.  
2003-04-13 Yao Dan takes a night train to Beijing to discuss with Mo Shaoping her father's situation.  
2003-04-09 More than 2 and half months have passed since the first trial of the Liaoyang Two's case without any verdict, which is the maximum duration to keep a suspect without a precise conviction and sentence after the trial in accordance with The Law of The People's Republic of China on Criminal Procedure (Revised).

Xiao's defense lawyer Zhang Bingbing visits Liaoyang Intermediate People's Court to ask for a verdict from the judge of Xiao's case Nian Tiepeng. Nian says he will "try to deliver a judgment as soon as possible".

Zhang asks for Xiao to be released on bail pending sentence [in accordance with article 74 of the Criminal Procedure Law]. His appeal is ignored. Zhang also visits Xiao Yunliang in the Liaoyang City Detention Centre. According to Zhang, apart from some medicine he received on 2 April he has not yet received proper treatment. Xiao tells Zhang that staff from the detention centre told him that they had no money for his treatment.
 
2003-04-05 Yao Fuxin's daughter Yao Dan goes to Beijing to meet her father's defense lawyer Mo Shaoping in Beijing to discuss what they can do for Yao Fuxin as no verdict has yet been announced. She is stopped by the PSB at the train station and taken to cities nearby for a "vacation".  
2003-04-02 Staff from the Liaoyang Detention Center take Xiao Yunliang to the hospital where he is diagnosed as having "floaters" and that he may lose his eyesight if no further treatment is given. It is believed that he may have been injured when he was first detained and pushed into a police car.  
2003-04-01 The deputy mayor Chen Qiang visits Xiao Yunliang in the detention centre.  
2003-03-21 In the morning, a police representative from the Ferroalloy Workers' Residential Area visits Xiao's family. And asks his wife, Su Anhua, not to worry about her husband saying the reports are just rumours. He states Xiao has lost some weight but it is not ill. He gives no more details.  
2003-03-20 The anniversary of Xiao Yunling, Wang Zhaoming, Pang Qingxiang's detention. Wang and Pang were released on bail on 20 December 2002 and Pang was later released wihout charges.

In the morning, Guo Xiujing and Su Anhua [wives of the Liaoyang Two], together with retired workers and retrenched workers go to negotiate with the municipal government. Thirty people are supposed to join the action, but Wang Zhaoming, Wang Dawei, Pang Qingxiang and Guo Baoshu are stopped by the police and not allowed to leave homes. The municipal government staff say the high level leaders are not there so the workers talk to two staff from the complaints office. They ask the government ensure a just decision is made in the case of Yao and Xiao and ask for family visits to the two men as soon as possible. There has been reports that Xiao Yunliang is ill. Reports from recently released prisoners at the same detention centre as Xiao state that he is coughing blood[a possible sign of tuberculosis] and that he had been moved to a single cell.
 
2003-03-18 The plainclothes police, who have stayed in the homes of the detained men and the Ferroalloy Workers' Residential Area since 24 February, leave after Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the National People's Congress finishes.  
2003-03-17 The anniversary of Yao Fuxin's detention.  
2003-03-16 Wang Zhaoming is detained by the PSB for questioning and given a warning in response to a recent interview he gave to a foreign radio station.  
2003-03-12 Yao's wife Guo Xiujing and Xiao's wife Su Anhua visit Liaoyang PSB's Baita District Office to hand in an application for a procession and demonstration. Officials try to persuade them to drop the planed protest as they will not be allowed a permit.

The reasons for the proposed demonstration are:
1. The Ferroalloy workers believe that the procuratorate and the court did not properly and efficiently protect workers' right in accordance with the law;
2. The workers demand that the Liaoyang municipal government repay their retrenchment fees, housing scheme fees, wages arrears and distribute the basic living allowance and other welfare payments;
3. The workers believe that the handling of the detention and trial of the Liaoyang detainees has not been in accordance with the law and that there have been serious violations of basic rights; they also call on the court to come to a just decision in the case.

The slogans of the proposed demonstration include:
1. "Implement the Three Represents, fight against corruption"
2. "Release the workers' representatives, enhance the rightful judiciary"
3. "Protect the workers' rights granted by the Law"

PSB states that although it agrees with the rights of the workers to demonstrate, it cannot accept the application due to the current situation. PSB officials say that they will reconsider the application and contact the relevant departments to see if they can do anything. However, the application is again rejected as the route of the planned march is said to be unclear. Guo Xuijing agrees to discuss the plans with the fellow workers.
 
2003-03-11 The first anniversary of the Liaoyang Ferro-Alloy protests.  
2003-03-10 The spokesperson of the Liaoyang Intermediate People's Court notifies journalists of the trial judgment on the case of the Liaoyang Ferroalloy Factory's leaders. The judgment states that Ferroalloy Factory's former director and general manager Fan Yicheng was irresponsible, causing state-owned properties to be defrauded and losing state-owned properties. He is found guilty of dereliction of duty and smuggling in ordinary goods. He was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment. The previous managers and trustees Liu Yongjia, Liu Zhe, Cao Ce and Wang Youguang were charged with negligence at work or embezzlement of public funds, and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.  
2003-03-03 Yao Dan and Xiao Yu are in Beijing to talk to Yao's lawyer. At midnight, about 20 plainclothes police from Liaoyang and Beijing PSB arrive at Yao Dan and Xiao Yu's hotel room in Beijing. The police say they will take Yao and Xiao to a [nicer] hotel but instead they take them to a hostel and search all their belongings , including their phone books. They are then driven back to Liaoyang by the police. At around 9am, they reach Liaoyang and are sent to an unknown government office and questioned for 8 to 9 hours. They are finally released at 8pm and warned not to speak to the media.  
2003-02-27 The deputy mayor Chen Qiang and officials from the Complaints Office meet 15 Ferro-Alloy Factory workers, including Wang Zhaoming, Pang Qingzhang, Gu Baoshu and Wang Dawei in the morning. The meeting lasts for about 3 hours and the workers demands include; the release of Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang, a solution to the problem of worker payments raised by the bankruptcy of the factory and for the corrupt officials to receive punishment for their actions.

Chen promises to solve all payment problems, except for pension arrears by the end of June. This includes wage arrears, heating expenses, children's insurance, housing scheme fund and medical fees.
 
2003-02-25 Yao's daughter Yao Dan and Xiao's daughter Xiao Yu deliver an application for a march on 11 March to the PSB in the name of Yao's wife Guo Xiujing and Xiao's wife Su Anhua. Some 10 workers also sign. The PSB states that the application is not in accordance with the Law of The People's Republic of China on Assembles, Processions and Demonstrations, which says that the named people in the permit application must deliver the application. The application is therefore rejected.  
2003-02-24 Plainclothes policemen from Liaoyang PSB are assigned to watch over Yao's and Xiao's families. The families are warned not to join any protest or to complain to the provincial or central government . They must also inform police before they leave the house.

The workers are planning a protest in March to commemorate the first anniversary of the Ferro-Alloy Factory Workers' protests. Wang Dawei, a workers' representative is detained and questioned by the PSB and later released. PSB officials also visit each of the workers' representatives and key members of the protest to warn them against continued protesting.

The neighbourhood where most Ferro-Alloy workers live is under heavy police surveillance to avoid protests occurring during the NPC [4 to 18 March].
 
2003-02-20 Workers, including Wang Zhaoming, Pang Qingxiang and Wang Dawei go to the municipal government to negotiate. Workers from the Liaoyang Cement Plant are already holding a protest at the offices of the Ferro-Alloy workers arrange a meeting the following week.  
January to early February Wang Dawei drafts an open letter calling for the release of the Liaoyang Two with more than a hundred signatures collected from Ferro-Alloy workers. The letter is removed by PSB officials.  
2003-01-23 Four PSB officers visit the families of Yao and Xiao and warn them not to speak to outside groups or media.  
2003-01-15 The trial of Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang, the two Liaoyang workers' representatives, is held at the Liaoyang Intermediate People's Court at 8.30 a.m. Yao is the first defendant and his defense lawyer is Mo Shaoping, while Xiao is the second defendant with Xiao Yunji and Zhang Bingbing as his defense lawyers.

Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang are accused of "subversion against the state" including contacting "hostile elements". The lawyers and both men deny the charges. The trial lasts for approximately four hours without a verdict being delivered.

Before the trial, the judge informs Xiao's family that Xiao has been not well. After less than 10 minutes in the courtroom, Xiao Yunliang faints and has to sit down for the rest of the trial. It is reported that "he can still walk but his eyes could no longer see".

Yao's 81 years old mother, his wife Guo Xiujing, daughter Yao Dan and sister attend the trial. Xiao's wife, daughter and sister also attend. Only a dozen or so workers are allowed to observe the trial, the rest attending [some 200] are government officials and plainclothes police.

It is reported that roads around the court have been blocked since 5am.
 
2003-01-14 The same spokesperson of the Liaoyang Intermediate People's Court confirms that the trial will be held on 15 January. She says that all the visitors' permits have been issued (about 300 in all).  
2003-01-13 A spokesperson at the Liaoyang Intermediate People's Court states that the trial date has yet to be decided despite the date of 15 January being given out by the same court on 8 January.

Trades Union Congress, Britain, writes to the Chinese ambassador in London expressing its concern over the Liaoyang trial, especially in the light of China's accession to the Governing Body of the ILO.
 
2003-01-10 Yao Fuxin meets his lawyer for the first time. His lawyer, Mo Shaoping, says that Yao is in good health.

ICFTU writes to the ILO, calling on the general director to intervene in the trial of Yao and Xiao. It also writes to the newly-appointed ACFTU chairman. The International Liaison Committee, which attempted to send a solidarity delegation to Liaoyang last May, launches another international appeal for their unconditional release. CLB launches online Campaign urging all charges be dropped against the Liaoyang Four and those still detained be released.
 
2003-01-09 ICFTU writes to President Jiang Zemin, urging him to drop all charges against the worker representatives and to release those still in detention immediately. It also rejects the accusations of violence against them.  
2003-01-08 It is announced that the case of Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang will be tried at the Liaoyang City Intermediate People's Court on 15 January. An official at the court states that it should be an open trial.

Xiao's home phone is cut off from incoming calls.
 
2003-01-04 The home phone of Yao Fuxin has been cut off from incoming calls. His family cannot be reached. Police officers keep the family of Xiao Yunliang under surveillance and warn his wife not to join any demonstrations.  
2002-12-31 Wang Zhaoming reports to the police upon their request and is detained. He returns home at night after being warned not to discuss the trial or communicate with outsiders or media.  
2002-12-30 Yao Fuxin's Beijing-based lawyer, Mo Shaoping, confirms that he has received verbal notification from the Liaoyang Procuratorate that it has submitted charges of subversion against Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang.

Xiao's daughter states that their family has not received formal notice on the charges. The reason given by the court is that Xiao has not prepared a lawyer.

Wang Zhaoming and Pang Qingxiang, released on bail, have been notified that they will not be charged due to their minor offences.
 
2002-12-27 The Liaoyang Intermediate People's Court submits the subversion cases of Yao and Xiao to the court.  
2002-12-26 The Liaoyang City Intermediate People's Procuratorate notifies Yao Fuxin's wife, Guo Xiujing, by phone that Yao's case has been submitted to its office.  
2002-12-20 Pang Qingxiang and Wang Zhaoming are released on bail pending trial. They have been detained without charges since 20 March. Wang is notified by the city's prosecuting authorities to prepare a lawyer.  
2002-11-19 A reply is issued by the Chinese government in response to the United nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [UN WGAD] complaint [G/SO218/2] on 11 July. The reply states that Yao Fuxin planned a "series of destructive acts, such as breaking into the government offices, disturbing the government's operations, breaking public vehicles, blocking roads and disrupting social orders. Yao and his fellow workers' criminal actions caused serious deficits in Liaoyang city's production, living and working orders, certain loss of public security and properties".

The reply also states in response to the workers complaints the Liaoyang government has provided three solutions;
1. punishing corrupt officials in accordance with the law - one previous manager has been sentenced already and another seven cases are being investigated;
2. more funds have been raised in order to protect workers' basic livelihood;
3. the promotion of re-employment programs for retrenched workers.
 
2002-11-11 At the 16th CCP Congress, Zhang Junjiu, the Vice-chairman of All-China Federation of Trade Unions [ACFTU] states that Yao Fuxin was not "arrested for organizing labour movements, but for violation of the
Chinese Criminal Law - he committed acts of violent destruction, such as igniting vehicles". CLB conducted interviews with Chairman Su of Liaoyang municipal trade union, officials at the municipal government office, municipal health bureau, Yao's wife and many different officials from Liaoyang and they all denied Zhang's accusation.
 
2002-11-08 16th National Congress of the CCP begins in Beijing.  
2002-11-06 According to Yao Fuxin's wife Guo Xiujing, more than 200 workers, mainly from the Liaoyang Ferro-Alloy Factory and the Steel Rolling Mill demonstrate in front of the city government offices on 5 & 6 November.

Workers involved in the protests and worker's representatives' and their families are under close surveillance in preparation for the 16th CCP Congress in Beijing.
 
2002-11-05 The first anniversary of Liaoyang Ferro-Alloy Factory's bankruptcy.

3,000 to 4,000 workers from Ferro-Alloy Factory, Textile Mill, Spinning Factory, Cannery, Steel Rolling Mill and some other small factories meet at the entrance of municipal government office. Banners with red texts "to welcome the 16th Central Communist Party Congress," and other banners are held up. The police ask them to remove a banner asking "What crime did Liaoyang Four commit?"
 
4, 5 & 6 November 2002 Several different public letters signed by "Party Members", "Youth Workers" and a "Retired Workers", are posted around the Ferro-Alloy workers' residential area. They urge the workers to gather at the government offices on 4, 5 & 6 November.

From 4 November onwards, many state-owned enterprises' workers demonstrate at the municipal government. They demand the release of the detainees, the distribution of heating fees for retrenched, but not yet retired workers, unemployment allowance, pension insurance and the refund of their housing scheme funds.
 
2002-10-28 Yao Fuxin has been sick since his detention on 17 March. His daughter Yao Dan sends an application for bail on medical grounds to the PSB, but it is rejected.  
2002-10-09 Liaoyang Four's families are allowed to visit them in the detention centre.  
September 2002 Liaoyang PSB claims that Yao Fuxin's case concerns "state secrets" and that is why his lawyer Mo Shaoping could not meet him. Mo has however not received any written explanation of his unsuccessful applications to meet Yao.  
2002-08-20 500 to 600 Ferro-Alloy workers deliver to the procuratorate written accusations consisting of six charges against the municipal government, court and the PSB. The procuratorate refuses to accept it.  
2002-08-02 According to Mo Shaoping, Yao Fuxin's lawyer, he applied to meet Yao in early July but has not yet received a reply.  
2002-07-26 Liaoyang procuratorate issues an arrest warrant for the Ferro-Alloy Factory's previous manager Fan Yicheng.  
2002-07-19 Some workers, who had joined the early-retirement scheme, protest at the municipal government offices demanding the release of Liaoyang Four and repayment of wages arrears.  
2002-07-10 International Day of Action to release the Liaoyang detainees. Trade unions' representatives from 27 countries send petitions to Chinese embassies and consulates worldwide. CLB, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee and Asia Monitor Resource Center hold a march and send an open letter to Jiang Zemin.  
2002-06-18 Workers' representatives meet deputy mayor Chen Qiang and other officials for further discussions on the release of the men. According to Yao Fuxin's wife Guo Xiujing, Chen says he has reported the case several times to his seniors and unless legal proceedings are carried out, the men should be released. Chen promises a reply on the case within a week.  
2002-06-02 The ICFTU issues a formal complaint to the ILO on the events in Liaoyang and the violation of the right to freedom of association by the Chinese government. China, as a member of the ILO, must reply in full within three months [2 September]  
2002-05-28 At 3:50 pm, the Mission arrives in Hong Kong and gives a press conference.  
2002-05-26 International Liaison Committee "Mission for Supporting Chinese Liaoyang Workers", formed by five French trade union activists and one translator, go to Liaoyang to pass on overseas support to the Liaoyang workers. They want to meet local government officials, visit the detained workers' representatives and ask for the release of the detainees. They also carry a letter of appeal co-sponsored by CLB which calls for the immediate release of the detainees and is signed by several thousand people. However, they are detained on their way to the Ferro-Alloy Factory and taken to Shenyang by police. The next day they are taken back to Beijing.  
2002-05-20 Some 500 Ferro-Alloy workers go to ask the municipal government office if the detainees can be released. The deputy mayor tells them that he has reported the case to the mayor.

According to Guo Xiujing, the Central Discipline Inspection Commission has sent a representative to Liaoyang and arrested several factory officials for corruption. She says she expects the detainees will be released soon.
 
2002-05-17 Three workers representatives meet with the deputy mayor and ask for the release of the detainees. The deputy mayor states that he will try to resolve the situation and a release could be expected if the detainees have done nothing wrong.  
2002-05-16 500 to 600 Ferro-Alloy workers again protest outside the government building for the release of the detainees. Two retired workers meet the government officials, who agree to arrange a meeting for workers' representatives and the mayor the next day.  
2002-05-15 Several hundred Ferro-Alloy workers stage a peaceful protest in front of the municipal government offices. At 10 am, some 10 plainclothes police from the government building take away workers' banners and several workers are beaten including a old retired female worker. When the son of the retired worker complains to the PSB he himself is beaten and detained briefly.  
2002-05-13 Liaoyang municipal government allows Yao Fuxin's family to visit him in Tieling Detention Centre. He is reportedly in ill health.  
2002-05-10 Ferro-Alloy workers continue their protest in front of the municipal government. Two officials from the government's Complaints Office ask them to select some representatives to meet the mayor but this is rejected by the workers who fear they may be detained. Finally the head of the complaints office accepts a letter of protest from the workers and promises to take it to the mayor immediately. The letter consists of five demands which include the release of the detainee and visits form their families to be allowed.

Ferro-Alloy workers meanwhile prepare for a long struggle and start to raise money for the transportation of aged and sick workers during the protests.
 
2002-05-09 Ferro-Alloy workers continue their protests in front of the municipal government for three successive days demanding the release of those detained. The workers want Gong Shangwu, the municipal representative of the NPC to fulfill his promise at the NPC that 280 Yuan is being given to retrenched and unemployed workers.

At 9 am, several hundred workers bring banners calling for the release of the detainees to the government offices.
 
7 & 8 May 2002 400 to 500 workers gather by the entrance of municipal government.

In the morning of May 8, Guo Xiujing and 3 other workers' representatives deliver an application for a march and protest,signed by some 20 workers' representatives. The PSB refuses to accept the application.
 
2002-05-05 At midnight, a "Letter to our Fellow Liaoyang Citizens" is posted on walls of the Ferro-Alloy workers' residential areas. According to Guo Xiujing, the letter demands:
1. the unconditional released of the workers' representatives and an apology to the workers;
2. an investigation into the bankruptcy of the factory must be carried out and responsibility must be allocated;
3. an investigation into the embezzlement of 3 million Yuan of public funds must be carried out;
4. those who forcibly apprehended Gu Baoshu on 16 April must be punished;
5. the rights of unemployed workers must be protected.

The letter calls on the workers to meet at the government offices on 7 & 8 May. The letter is removed by PSB officials.
 
1 May 2002 [Labour Day] Yao Fuxin's wife Guo Xiujing tells CLB that the secretary-general of Liaoyang municipal government told the workers that the Liaoyang Four "had been found guilty and no release could be made". It is also reported that the taskforce assigned to calm the situation at the factory has left.  
2002-04-29 Ferro-Alloy workers apply again for a permit to march but again it is rejected without a list of the organizers names and details.  
2002-04-23 Since the workers started their mass protests, the government has met many of the economic demands initially raised. For example; medical fees have been reimbursed, 50% of wages arrears has been repaid and pension insurance cards have been given to workers.  
2002-04-16 At around 8 am, police break into Ferro-Alloy workers' representative Gu Baoshu's home and take him away bound and gagged. When the workers learn about this they go to his home in a futile attempt to stop the police taking him away.

The workers send an application for a permit to hold a march to the new secretary-general. However they are told that the application is invalid unless all organizers names are given. The workers refuse to provide a name list [to avoid further arrest] and make clear that if they are not allowed to protest and if Gu is not released they will deliver a collective complaint to Beijing or block the railway.

Under pressure from the workers, PSB releases Gu Baoshu at night.
 
2002-04-15 Ferro-Alloy workers visit the municipal government office to ask for the release of the workers' representatives. To avoid confrontation and further detentions, they do not gather to demonstrate but send a few representatives to the government's complaints office to ask to see the mayor.  
2002-04-11 Yao Fuxin's wife Guo Xiujing is allowed to visit her sick husband in the Tieling City Detention Center, Liaoning.  
2002-03-29 Warrants for arrest are sent to Yao Fuxin, Xiao Yunliang, Pang Qingxiang and Wang Zhaoming. They are charged with "illegal assembly, marches and protests".  
2002-03-28 International Confederation of Free Trade Unions [ICFTU] lodges a letter of complaint demanding the immediate release of the five Liaoyang workers' representatives [this includes the man detained when Guo Suxiang was detained who was released shortly afterwards]

Some Liaoyang workers and families of the detainees gather by the entrance of the municipal government to ask for details of the detainee's current situation.
 
2002-03-22 The police inform Guo Xiujing that her husband Yao Fuxin is seriously ill and has been admitted to hospital.  
2002-03-21 In the morning, about 1,000 Ferro-Alloy workers meet at the municipal government entrance and request the release of the 4 workers' representatives. Pang Qingxiang's wife, Guo Suxiang, is also detained in this protest. A bystander from a fabric factory who complained that this was unreasonable is also detained.

Liaoyang PSB's Baita District Office serve the 4 workers representatives' families with official notices of detention for "illegal demonstrations" [article 296 of the Criminal Law]. The four are held at Tieling City Detention Centre, Liaoning.

Pang's wife Guo Suxiang is released in the afternoon, but no news is heard about the other worker from the fabric factory detained at the same time.

In the evening the PSB allows Yao Fuxin to call his wife in the hope that it will diffuse the situations and will deter workers from further protests.
 
2002-03-20 At 8.30 am, more than 2,000 Ferro-Alloy workers gather at the entrance of the municipal government offices to ask for the release of Yao Fuxin. Gu Baoshu, another worker representative goes to the government office to negotiate and is immediately apprehended. A witness reports this to the workers waiting outside and many workers immediately rush inside to rescue him. They smash the door of the room where Gu is held and release him.

At about 11 am, the Liaoyang municipal government sends a troop of armed police to detain three Ferro-Alloy workers' representatives on the demonstrators' way home. About 40 older workers surround Pang Qingxiang, Xiao Yunliang and Wang Zhaoming on their way home in order to protect them from arrest. However, when they are still in the vicinity of the government offices, about 100 armed police break up the protective barrier and take the three men away.
 
2002-03-19 Workers continue to protest and ask for the release of Yao Fuxin.  
2002-03-18 Yao's family goes to the PSB to ask for Yao Fuxin, but the PSB denies that they have detained him.

By noon, more than 40,000 workers from some 20 factories protest to demand the release of Yao Fuxin. The factories include: Ferro-Alloy Factory, Textile Mill, Piston Ring Factory, Instrument and Meter Plant, Leather Factory, Precision Instrument Plant, Carton Mill, Printing Factory, Liquefied Gas Tank Factory, Paper Foils Factory, Metal Forming Factory, Shoushan Machinery Factory and Qingyang Chemical Plant.

Other workers' representatives are protected by fellow workers to avoid further detentions.
 
2002-03-17 Ferro-Alloy workers' representative Yao Fuxin is taken away by several plainclothes police near his apartment in the morning.  
2002-03-12 Some 10,000 to 20,000 unemployed workers demonstrate in front of the Liaoyang municipal government. The workers demand that government leaders solve the issues affecting their livelihood, punish the corrupt factory leaders and express their discontent with the brief detention of the workers' representatives by the PSB.

After a long discussion, the municipal government leaders finally agree to meet the workers' representatives at noon. The deputy secretary of the Municipal Party Committee, two assistant mayors, the secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, president of the court, procurator-general and PSB chief [12 officials in total] meet the workers' representatives. According to a worker, the workers' representatives raise the issues of corruption, bankruptcy, unemployment and the detention of the other workers' representatives to the government leaders. It is reported that the only achievement of the meeting is the promise by the officials [including the PSB] that no more workers will be detained.

According to sources, the police then adopted a repressive strategy in an attempt to take control of the situation. They sent warning letters to workers' representatives proclaiming the illegality of the demonstrations which did not have prior PSB approval.
 
2002-03-11 More than 10,000 workers demonstrate in front of the municipal government offices. They demand the government recall the Liaoyang municipal representative of National People's Congress, Gong Shangwu, as they believe he has not done a proper job in representing the workers and supervising the local government. Several people were briefly detained.  
2002-03-05 An open letter "Four years of fruitless accusations against corruption: The General Secretary [of the CCP Central Committee] must help us" signed by 6,000 unemployed workers from the bankrupt Liaoyang Ferro-Alloy Factory is addressed to Jiang Zemin, the President of China. The letter contains a full description of the factory's bankruptcy including the alleged corruption and illegal dealings between the factory leaders and government officials, the massive embezzlement of state property, the causes of the illegal bankruptcy and the workers' current situation without income and compensation. The letter also states that since 1998, the workers have organized themselves and complained to the municipal, provincial and central governments, but their complaints have not been heard. The letter asks Jiang Zemin to help solve the worker's troubles using the "Theory of Three Represents".

The unemployed workers also send an open letter to the Liaoning Provincial Governor Bo Xilai describing the bankruptcy of the factory and the corruption and bribery of the former factory leader, Fan Yicheng. The letter asks for Fan to be punished and for the welfare payments and basic living expenses owed to the workers to be paid.

The National people's Congress [NPC] begins in Beijing.
 
2002-03-03 Ferro-Alloy workers release an open letter, containing detailed arguments about the true cause of the factory's bankruptcy. The letter expresses their wish to solve the problems raised by the bankruptcy, such as reemployment and compensation in reasonable means.  
2001-11-05 The municipal government and the court announce Liaoyang Ferro-Alloy Factory "bankrupt".

About 100 factory officials and workers with good connections, including the factory's trade union chairman continue to work in the two workshops which are still operating.
 
Mid-October 2001 A Workers' Congress meeting is held to vote if the Ferro-Alloy factory should go bankrupt [This is a legal requirement before an enterprise can be declared bankrupt - clearly this meeting was seen as a formality only by the factory management and as a foregone conclusion].

Liaoyang PSB deploys riot police [with helmets, shields and batons] and many police vehicles near the factory entrance. Plainclothes police and vehicles are assigned to guard the workers' residential area. Workers' representatives are put under close surveillance by the PSB in case they organize another protest. The voting hall is divided into 13 areas and guarded by plainclothes police so that the workers cannot communicate freely. Some workers refuse to vote and leave as they find the supervision unbearable. Some vote no to the bankruptcy in the ballots but their ballot sheets are torn up by the police.
 
2001-05-17 Instructed by the municipal court officials, some 50 men break into the factory at night and remove ore used in production. The factory's security chief informs Yao Fuxin immediately and Yao comes with eight other workers. However, the workers are powerless to stop the theft. More than 2,000 tones of ore are stolen and some 3,000 Ferroalloy workers protest the next morning. A representative from the Liaoyang municipal government promises the workers a full investigation and report on the theft within seven days but this never materializes.  
2000-05-16 At 1 am, 700 public security officials and 200 armed police take action and violently disperse workers, injuring at least 50 workers with batons. Three 3 workers representatives, Xiao Yunliang, Pang Qingxiang and Lu Ran are detained.

At 8 am, more than 5,000 angry workers protest at the municipal government offices with banners "wage-arrears are a crime" and "Release workers' representatives". About 1,000 public security officials and armed police set up a roadblock to stop them and conflicts occur. The three men are later released.
 
2000-05-15 Some 5,000 workers and retired workers stage a demonstration, blocking the main Zhenxing highway which connects Liaoyang and Shenyang in protest at 18 month wages-arrears.  
1998 Yao Fuxin and 9 other workers' representatives visit Beijing to complain about the corruption in the Liaoyang Ferroalloy Factory.