State secrets charges have formed the basis for convicting or denying fair trial to labor activists in a number of high-profile cases reported by Human Rights in China and China Labour Bulletin:
Zheng Enchong: A Shanghai lawyer who provided legal advice to hundreds of residents evicted in the course of urban redevelopment in Shanghai, Zheng was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in October 2003 after being convicted of “illegally transmitting state secrets abroad.” One of the primary documents forming the basis of Zheng’s conviction was a handwritten note stating that a small demonstration at a Shanghai factory had been put down by Public Security authorities.
He Zhaohui: Originally a worker from the Chenzhou Railway in Hunan Province, He was sentenced on August 24, 1999 to ten years’ imprisonment on charges of leaking state secrets abroad after he provided overseas media with information about labor unrest in Hunan.
Zhang Shanguang: A longtime labor activist and founder of the Association to Protect the Rights and Interests of Laid-Off Workers and the Hunan Autonomous Workers’ Federation, Zhang was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment in December 1998 for providing “intelligence” to “overseas hostile organizations and individuals,” and “incitement to subvert state power.” Zhang had given a series of interviews to foreign media, including an interview with Radio Free Asia where he disclosed information about demonstrations near his home.
Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang, the “Liaoyang two”: Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang were core worker representatives during the mass protests led by laid-off workers at the bankrupt Liaoyang Ferro-Alloy factory in Liaoning Province in 2002-2003. On May 9, 2003, Yao and Xiao were both convicted of “illegal assembly and demonstration” and “subversion” and sentenced to seven and four years’ imprisonment respectively. Yao was repeatedly denied permission to meet with his lawyer, Mo Shaoping, for over four months, on the basis that the case involved “state secrets.” Public security authorities also repeatedly attempted to intimidate the families of Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang from communicating with overseas media.
Li Bifeng: A labor rights activist who worked at the Mianyang City Tax Bureau in Sichuan Province, Li was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in August 1998 on a politically motivated charge of fraud. Before his arrest, Li Bifeng had been in hiding since July 1997, when he publicized an open letter to international labor and human rights organizations on the violent crackdown of massive worker protests in Mianyang over alleged misappropriation of unemployment funds by corrupt cadres in three collapsed state firms.