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Wei Jingsheng Speaks at a Roundtable on "the Role of the Trade Unions and of the European Society in the Building of a Free Trade Union and a Democratic Society in China and Tibet" in Turin, Italy

After the tragic events of last spring, the situation in Tibet has worsened. The only way the Chinese Communist regime could object to the protests was by the repression of every form of dissent. Besides, the economic crisis has made thousands of enterprises in China shut down causing mass dismissal of migrant workers. Therefore the People's Republic of China is going through a period of great instability, heralding very important changes.

CISL (the Italian Confederation of Workers' Trade Unions, one of three major union groups in Italy) with the sponsorship of the Piedmont Region of the Province of Turin and of the city of Turin, held a four hour long roundtable in the morning of June 12, 2009 at Centro Congressi Torino Incontra, in Turin, Italy during its 16th Trade Union Congress. The purpose of the roundtable was to better learn the real economic and social conditions of Tibet and China and to determine the role that the trade unions and the European society could play in the building of a free Trade Union and a democratic society there. The roundtable was a way for CISL to show the Italian workers' solidarity with Tibetan and Chinese workers, including supporting them in efforts to organize free Trade Unions and to bring the process of democracy to the Chinese and Tibetan societies.

The roundtable featured speakers included Wei Jingsheng, winner of the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament and Chairman of the Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition, who delivered the theme speech. Cai Chongguo, China worker activist and Lukar Sham, Tibetan worker activist, introduced the workers' movement and workers situation in China and Tibet. Chime Yungdrung, President of the National Democratic Party of Tibet spoke about the democratic process in Tibetan exile society, as well as the opposition activities by the Tibetans inside Tibet.

The General Secretary of CISL, Raffaele Bonanni, and the president of Turin's trade union also delivered speeches. The roundtable was anchored by Mrs. Christiana Ruggeri of TG2 Channel of Italy.

In Wei Jingsheng's speech, he agreed with General Secretary Bonanni that Chinese workers' rights are in line with Italian workers. The fact that the Chinese workers rights were exploited is the most important reason that Italian workers lost their jobs. Now the Western countries are all taking measures to reduce their trade deficit with China. If they could put pre-conditions of Chinese workers' basic rights and environmental protection, it would have the positive effect of improving Chinese workers living conditions, as well as reviving the Western economy.

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