Delivery Knights Alliance

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The Delivery Knights Alliance (also known as Knights League, Chinese: 外送江湖骑士联盟 or 外卖江湖骑士联盟; lit. 'Alliance of Food Delivery Riders Among Rivers and Lakes'[1]) is a food delivery organization and informal labor union in China.

History[edit]

The prototype of the Alliance could trace back to 2018, as the leader of the Alliance, Chen Guojiang (Chinese: 陈国江, also known as Mengzhu, Chinese: 盟主; lit. 'master of the Alliance', or another name Chen Tianhe, Chinese: 陈天河), a food deliver, joined some deliver groups on WeChat and gradually became the leader.[2][3] The organization was formally established in June 2019, when Chen urged the people in these groups to attach cards to their delivery boxes to make more people get in touch with him and joined the groups.[4][5] Chen helped the delivers who joined his groups deal with difficulties, including staged crashes and negotiations with police.[4]

Several days before the 2019 Singles' Day in China, the delivery platforms uniformly lower the unit price of rider delivery, Chen mobilized everyone in his groups to make a work stoppage and was later arrested for 26 days.[4][6]

In February 2021, Chen and some other delivers complained that Ele.me and delivery platforms launched to reward riders to stay in Beijing during the Chinese New Year activities are suspected of deception. On February 19, Ele.me's official Sina Weibo account apologized and promised to increase compensation activities.[7] In March, Chen was detained.[8] By his detention, about 14,000 delivers had joined his Wechat groups, some of them tried to organize a wildcat general strike, which was suppressed by the authority.[3][9] Later in April, he was accused of "picking quarrels and provoking troubles".[10] His friends raised about 1.2 million CNY (around 20 thousand US dollars) to pay the attorneys' fees, who were later warned by the police to give in.[10]

Chen reappeared in January 2022.[11]

Activism[edit]

Chen opened a series of social media accounts to publish short videos related to delivers, including Douyin, Kuaishou,[12] Sina Weibo, and Bilibili.[13] He also offered two-day free housing for people who did not find a rent house and organized parties for delivers.[14]

Reception[edit]

After Chen was detained, labor activist groups, human rights groups, and leftist websites expressed concerns over the affair.[15] Labor Notes,[16] China Labour Bulletin,[17] International Socialist Alternative,[18] and Red Song Society[19] had criticized the All-China Federation of Trade Unions and the prohibition of labor unionism. Human rights group Chinese Human Rights Defenders and Trotskyist association International Socialist Alternative urged the authority to release Chen.[7][18]

An article from The Christian Science Monitor compared the April visit of government official Wang Lin to the delivery industry with the event and criticized labor relations in China.[20]

The US Department of State's China 2021 Human Rights Report mentioned Chen.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wang, Zixu (20 April 2021). "In China, delivery workers struggle against a rigged system". SupChina. Archived from the original on 26 April 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  2. ^ "與系統對抗,如何做一名外賣騎手之間的組織者?" [Against the system, how to be an organizer among delivery riders?]. Initium Media (in Traditional Chinese). 26 February 2021. Archived from the original on 29 July 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b Borak, Masha (14 March 2022). "China's Gig Workers Are Challenging Their Algorithmic Bosses". Wired. Archived from the original on 10 May 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Zhao, Jiajia (30 November 2020). "京城骑侠传:外送江湖骑士联盟盟主陈天河和北京十里河的骑手江湖" [Riders in the Capital: Chen Tianhe, Riders' Alliance Leader and Riders in Beijing's Shili River]. Sina Finance (in Simplified Chinese). South Reviews. Archived from the original on 11 June 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  5. ^ Liu, Diana (9 March 2021). "China: Beijing delivery rider and labour activist is detained after denouncing worker exploitation". France 24. The Observers. Archived from the original on 15 July 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  6. ^ Feng, Emily (13 April 2021). "He Tried To Organize Workers In China's Gig Economy. Now He Faces 5 Years In Jail". NPR. Archived from the original on 21 May 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  7. ^ a b "外送员维权被抓 人权组织促中国当局放人" [Delivery workers arrested for defending their rights, human rights groups urge Chinese authorities to release them]. Radio France Internationale (in Simplified Chinese). 23 March 2021. Archived from the original on 7 October 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  8. ^ "Chen Guojiang "Mengzhu"". Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. Archived from the original on 5 July 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  9. ^ "外送员维权被抓 人权组织促中国当局放人" [Delivery workers arrested for defending their rights, human rights groups urge Chinese authorities to release them]. Voice of America (in Simplified Chinese). 22 March 2021. Archived from the original on 24 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  10. ^ a b Feng, Emily (12 April 2021). "China Detains Delivery Worker Who Tried To Improve Working Conditions". NPR. Archived from the original on 31 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  11. ^ ""外送骑士联盟"陈国江重现江湖? 中国劳工权益仍长路漫漫" [Chen Guojiang of the "Delivery Riders Alliance", is back in action? China's labor rights still have a long way to go]. Radio Free Asia (in Simplified Chinese). 5 January 2022. Archived from the original on 6 January 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  12. ^ Wang, Chenguang (1 March 2021). "饿了么骑手盟主亲述奖励事件:不关心平台道歉给谁看 更在意奖励" [Mengzhu of Ele.me riders illustrate the reward incident: does not care who the platform apologizes to, sees more concerned about the reward]. Sina Finance. Blue whale TMT. Archived from the original on 16 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  13. ^ Yang, Zeyi (1 March 2021). "Arrested: Chinese delivery activist". Protocol. Archived from the original on 13 March 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  14. ^ "餐厅老板负债百万转行送外卖,自封"江湖盟主",5000名骑手听他指挥" [Restaurant owner in million debts to delivery, the self-proclaimed "master of the alliance of rivers and lakes", with 5000 riders listening to his command]. Tencent News (in Simplified Chinese). Archived from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  15. ^ Qiu, Jack Linchuan (July 2022). "Humanizing the posthuman: Digital labour, food delivery, and openings for the new human during the pandemic". International Journal of Cultural Studies. 25 (3–4): 445–461. doi:10.1177/13678779211066608. PMC 8859475.
  16. ^ "China: Leader of Delivery Riders Alliance Detained, Solidarity Movement Repressed". Labor Notes. 15 April 2021. Archived from the original on 16 May 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  17. ^ "Food delivery worker activist accused of "picking quarrels"". China Labour Bulletin. 25 March 2021. Archived from the original on 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  18. ^ a b Chmel, Philipp (2 April 2021). "China: Release delivery workers' spokesperson Chen Guojiang". China Worker. International Socialist Alternative. Archived from the original on 25 July 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  19. ^ "外卖骑手的"两会"时刻:官方的焦点提案与消失的民间"盟主"" [Delivers' "two sessions" moment: the official focus of the proposal and the disappearance of nongovernmental "Mengzhu"]. Red Song Society. 29 March 2021. Archived from the original on 28 January 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  20. ^ Tyson, Ann Scott (14 May 2021). "Beijing embraces gig workers' cause – but not their activists". Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on 8 February 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  21. ^ "CHINA 2021 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT" (PDF). Department of State. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 April 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.

External links[edit]