We are labour activists and defenders of democratic rights. We send our fraternal greetings to the workers and youth in China.
We wish to express our solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of youth and workers who have been marching in demonstrations in Hong Kong for the past four months, and with the hundreds of thousands who went on strike on 5 August and 2 and 3 September and imposed the withdrawal of the Extradition Bill on Carrie Lam.
We condemn theheavy-handed police crackdown on the protesters, the imprisonment of protesters and the implementation of an emergency law that gives authorities unlimited power against elementary civil liberties.
This emergency law was adopted in 1922 by the British colonial regime to break a seamen’s strike. Thus, the Hong Kong authorities, and the Beijing government behind them, are using a law of the colonial powers which plundered China against the Chinese workers and youth.They should beware of the fact that in 1922, the seamen’s general strike was victorious and prepared the way for the big strikes in Shanghai and Canton-Hong Kong in 1925.
We endorse the 7 August 2019 joint statement by 19 associations and organisations of Hong Kong, including the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions HKCTU: “At the same time, harassment and suppression of labour rights groups across the country has continued. (…) We demand that the Chinese government immediately and unconditionally releases the arrested labour rights activists and community service providers (…)”.
We send our greetings to Meng Han, recently released after having been arrested for the third time. We assure you of our unconditional solidarity with Fu Changguo, Wu Guijun, Zhang Zhiru, He Yuancheng, Wei Zhili and all the detained activists, all the students who supported these victims of arbitrary imprisonment.
Brothers and sisters of Hong Kong and mainland China,
We remain true to the tradition of the democratic and labour movement: civil liberties are indivisible; we remain true to the motto “the workers right to independent organisation knows no borders”.
In our own country, workers and their organisations are preparing for a strike to defend our pensions system, which is being threatened by our government.
In every country, workers’ resistance is not only legitimate but essential for fighting back against exploitation and defending collective rights.
Workers have the right to organise as they see fit.
We received messages that bear witness to your struggle. We will maintain these exchanges and will therefore find the means to do so.
We will not give up. Long live workers’ international solidarity!
This address was issued in Paris on 18 October 2019, on the occasion of the 22nd Solidarity Dinner with Chinese workers organised by the China Inquiry Commission, with, as guest of honour: Lee Cheuk-yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions.