“The whole world is waiting for you to come back. ‘Hold fast to freedom in the wind and rain,’” wrote Zheng Churan in a postcard to her husband, Wei Zhili, a labor activist detained in March by authorities in the city of Shenzhen, southeast China.
“Hold fast to freedom in the wind and rain” are lyrics from “Glorious Days,” a rock song by the Hong Kong band Beyond that has become an anthem of sorts for political protests in the region. The phrase accurately describes the state of human rights activism in China today.
In addition to Wei, 30, an editor of the workers’ rights news website New Generation, Shenzhen police have also detained two other website editors, Yang Zhengjun, 33, and Ke Chengbing, 29, in January and March respectively. The trio have for years advocated for migrant workers who contracted silicosis, a deadly occupational lung disease caused by inhaling dust that contains silica, which is produced when rock and masonry are cut or drilled.
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