Tencent Tech:Scandal stricken IBM detained mother of ex-employee on the day of centennial

— On the day of IBM Centennial a microblogger uploaded a photo showing Yuan’s mother being abducted and gave the van serial number

July 6 Lou Chi report: Yuan Yipeng often calls himself “a defeated pile of trash”. He has been involved in an employment dispute with IBM for 4 years with no resolution in sight, although he had many sympathizers. Apart from seeking treatment for his own depression, Yuan has a new task in hand, that is, to get justice for his mother who had been abducted in a surprise attack illegally by IBM on the day of its centennial.

On 16 June, Yuan Yipeng made a suicide bid by jumping into Huangpu River after taking some sleeping pills. He was later rescued. It has been 20 days since then, and his lung infection has almost cleared up. However, as he told the journalists, the physical ordeal was not the most painful. He had been feeling down in the past few days because he received verbal attacks over his private life which went on for three days by hostile internet users who he believes were paid to do so by “them”(i.e. IBM). He had been attacked in a similar way three years ago.

On the day of IBM’s centennial, the same day he chose to commit suicide, his mother was forcefully taken away in a van from her usual spot of protesting outside IBM’s Huan Yu Building. The people who did this were from Wuhan, led by IBM’s securities. She was held for 8 hours before being released when the ceremony was over. Yuan pointed out that IBM’s securities are permanent staff as part of the HR team. They are not workers hired on temporary basis.

In order to learn more about the incident, the reporter made several phone calls to an IBM’s spokesman. Unfortunately he refused to answer the phone. Zhao Nan, a lawyer from Beijing Jun He Law Firm who represents IBM on Yuan’s case, also refused to comment. According to another Lawyer named Yan from Beijing An Tian Law Firm, if what Yuan said was true, and considering the timing, possible motives, and the length of time Yuan’s mother was held for, the detention was indeed illegal though it was not quite a criminal offence as the time length was shorter than 24 hours.

Some netizens commented that what Yuan is up against is not the IBM with a hundred years glorious history or a great enterprise full of wisdom, but an institution which is cold, arrogant and has no respect to human life.

An Arbitration Ruling Ignored by IBM

— When IBM ignored the ruling of arbitration and pressurized Yuan for an alternative arrangement, i.e. working from home, Yuan wrote to the Chairman of IBM pleading for help.

Back in June 2006, Yuan Yipeng was employed as a research engineer having graduated from Wuhan University. In March 2007 Yuan received a diagnosis of depression. In August 2007, an assessment report by Shanghai Mental Health Institute suggested that Yuan return to work. At this point IBM asked Yuan to leave voluntarily. Yuan refused.

Subsequently, IBM cut Yuan’s salary with no notification while secretly and forcefully put him in sick leave state. Yuan got a relapse of depression, and became worse and worse. On 11 January 2008, after a trapped meeting with IBM management, he swallowed 40 tablets of clonazepam to take his own life for the first time. He was rescued.

On 27 February 2008, IBM informed him in a letter that his employment had been terminated. Yuan Yipeng decided to take legal action. On 7 March, Shanghai Pudong Employment Dispute Arbitration Court accepted the case. On 30 May, the case had its first hearing. On 18 June 2008, the Court ruled that the employment contract Yuan had with IBM remain effective.

One would assume that this should bring the matter to a happy ending. Unfortunately, IBM refused to accept the ruling. Instead, it made its own arrangement for Yuan Yipeng to work from home in Wuhan on an online gaming project, the reason being that the department he previously belonged to no longer existed. Yet Yuan wanted to go back to his original post because his colleagues and the project he had been working on were still there. But IBM rejected his proposal.

Family of Three in Protest

From the end of 2008 to 2009, after all the efforts failed, Yuan Yipeng suffered severe memory loss for a year due to an electric shock treatment and had to be cared for by his family. Things took a hopeful turn when Sukkyu Kim, IBM’s Human Resources Director who is Korean by origin, intervened. Arrangement was made for Yuan to work on a trial basis for 3 months. Should his performance be satisfactory, the company would reinstate him. Unfortunately Sukkyn left his position before the end of the trial. As a result, IBM abandoned its dialogue with Yuan. Once again Yuan’s depression got worse.

Yuan’s parents started to station themselves outside IBM buildings in Beijing, petitioning for a face to face meeting with the management of the company. This has been going on for 9 months now.

Yuan Yipeng showed us a written account of what happened to his mother. It seems that his mother was dragged into an unmarked van from the entrance of Huan Yu Building at 11 o’clock on 16 June. She was taken to a town called Dong Bei Wang and was kept in a small courtyard of an internet café until 7 o’clock in the evening. While she was there, lawyers representing IBM went in.

On the same day Yuan Yipeng took some sleeping pills and jumped into a river from Shanghai Yang Jia Du dock to kill himself. He was rescued by police and survived. In his microblog he wrote these words on that day, “I am on my way. I am a nobody. I can not understand the feeling that the IBM China Chairman may have had when he walked past my mother who was kneeling down on the ground, got into his car and sped off. ”

One Company, Two Attitudes

Interestingly, despite the fact that the management of IBM takes a hard line on the matter, some of its employees are rather sympathetic towards Yuan family. Journalist and producer for CCTV program “News 1+1” Liu wrote in her microblog, “Yuan’s parents are easy going and appreciative. During the 9 months when they were protesting outside IBM buildings, some migrant workers donated blankets to keep them warm. Some IBM employees would come to chat to them from time to time. The only thing missing is a sincere communication from the senior management of IBM.”

An IBM employee stated in his microblog, “The theme of the Centennial was to repay the society. Therefore, there was no lavish celebration. I am an employee, so I know. But if IBM was involved in this incident as you described, then no doubt it would be viewed as a big scandal in a civilized society. I believe that IBM would pay a huge price for it.”

Another IBM employee who doesn’t want to be named told the reporter that to take Yuan’s mother away was a temporary measure that has to be taken, as there were many senior managers visiting the site on that day. But he acknowledged that should IBM accepted the 2008 ruling and fulfilled its obligation, Yuan may have been in a better shape by now, and all the trouble could have been avoided.

The Latest

According to volunteers, Yuan’s parents had made a request to Dong Bei Wang police station to file a lawsuit regarding the illegal detention. But the police dismissed the request, stating that “an unlawful detention would only be regarded as a criminal offense if it lasted more than 24 hours”. Nonetheless, the police promised to report the incident to the senior management so that some help could be made available to them to resolve the issue.



About Yuan Yi Peng (袁毅鹏)

An abandoned IBMer for his Depression
This entry was posted in Illegal Conduction on IBM Centennial and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Tencent Tech:Scandal stricken IBM detained mother of ex-employee on the day of centennial

  1. DA says:

    Horrible company and horrible country. Shameful behaviour from IBM’s management side. The money they paid for the lawyers is probably 50-100 times more than Yuan’s salary, but they are “making a point”. As for China, it’s probably the only country in the world where a person can be forcefully detained by any amount of time and go unpunished. Shameful!

  2. Cook says:

    My God!!! To do whatever one wants under the assumption that one will get away with it, even if it is the WRONG thing to do, is horrible and disrespectful to others. Shame on IBM!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Actually, IBM China violated another item of law and should get punished. Somehow officers covered it up when the media delivered this report.

      Moreover IBM China is using its influence to suppress or block medias, even legal systems on this land which I can prove.

      Now, in a contrary way, my family are in danger actually. Totally have no idea of how IBM China executive team can achieve all these.


      Source of this report in Chinese, http://tech.qq.com/a/20110706/000124.htm

  3. Dan says:

    I don’t want to stereotype how things work in China, and I have lived there, but that’s the things go there sadly enough. No respect or moral for human life or rights, and it seems to only be about the power and money. True, China might be getting richer, and their Communist party controlled government ever more powerful, but the public can’t keep being treated like this without consequences coming back to haunt them. Most of these protests in China are because of government land grabs for the sake of corporate interests whether they be foreign or internal. The West has sadly been backing off of standing up for human rights in China due to……MONEY, BUSINESS, POWER, etc….and why is everything controversial to the Communist party censored? Because it threatens to destabilize their power and influence, simply put. It’s no wonder why most of the Chinese people I know, meaning their parents, work for the government and are wealthy. I know there a lot of great Chinese people out there too, but a lot of them in China, are really brainwashed by the propaganda put on state tv. If China has problem who are they usually first to blame, foreigners and foreign governments. In the end though, it will be up to the Chinese public to change things there, is that going to be easy? No, far from it. Anyways, Yuan Yi Peng, my deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. The more you make this known in the media and to the public for support, the more likely IBM China will have to respect your demands with them. Please remember this Ghandi quote, “First they laugh at you, then they ignore you, then they fight you, and then you win.” I hope this will be very true in your case, and don’t ever give up. You have people over here in the West that are shocked and angry that this is happening to you, and know that we are supporting you in thought. I’m sorry we can’t do anymore than that, but don’t ever give up hope on your family and your cause.

  4. Incognito says:

    I’m an employee of IBM so I cannot voice an opinion directly, I just wanted to note the irony that I arrived at this blog via a link in a note sent to all IBM employees by management (they probably did not read all links in the news item they were advertising). The wonders of the Internet!.

  5. Nate Fung says:

    This is what happens when God is banned from a country for 10 generations.

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