Labour activists held

BEIJING: China has arrested four labour activists who have helped workers fight for their rights, lawyers for two of them said on Sunday, as the government steps up a crackdown on activists pressing for change within the system. Rights groups say the current clampdown on dissent is the most sweeping in two decades in China, where a slowing economy has led to a surge in labour disputes, particularly in the southern manufacturing powerhouse of Guangdong. Zeng Feiyang, director of the Panyu Migrant Workers Centre in the southern city of Guangzhou, was charged with “disturbing social order”, said Cheng Zhunqiang, his lawyer. Two other activists, Meng Han and Zhu Xiaomei, have also been arrested on the same charge, said Yan Xin, Meng’s lawyer, and Cheng. He Xiaobo was arrested on a charge of embezzlement, according to New York-based rights group China Labour Watch. The lawyers for Zhu and He could not be reached for comment.