CHINA/HONG KONG Call for support of Hong Kong’s independent labour movement launched by the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions HKCTU

Please find below, the call launched by the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions HKCTU on 13 February as the trial of its General Secretary Lee Cheuk-yan is about to begin after the arrest of its President Carol Ng last month. 

We invite you to respond with a short message in English to hkctu@hkctu.org.hk (see below) Full support to the autonomous labour movement in Hong Kong! 

Drop all charges against Lee Cheuk-yan and Hong Kong trade unionists! 

Don’t forget to mention your name, surname, trade union and city. Please send us a copy of your message. Thank you 

CHINA/HONG KONG 

Call for support of Hong Kong’s independent labour movement launched by the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions HKCTU, February 13, 2021 

Dear Comrades, 

Shortly before the 2019 movement against the extradition bill started, the Beijing regime had, little by little, restricted Hong Kong’s political space, and the people’s demands – as well as the defense of working conditions – were constantly ignored. 

Throughout the past year, in the name of national security and the fight against the pandemic, the government has been increasingly ruthless in depriving the population of their political rights, and workers of their rights. Public gatherings have been banned by police for over a year now. Even simple street outreach activities to publicize the trade union have been prosecuted. 

This repression has swept through the workplace, threatening Hong Kong workers and their professional integrity. Here are a few examples: 

Civil servants, who have only served the public interest and respected political neutrality, are today under pressure to pledge allegiance to the Basic Law; 

Members of healthcare sector trade unions are being prosecuted and denounced by hospital management for their participation in the strike that was demanding the total closure of borders to prevent the pandemic; 

A teacher was dismissed for citing political issues in an effort to stimulate critical debate among students; 

A journalist was arrested after researching information material on a public services portal; 

Social workers, who had mediated the mobilizations, were arrested and even charged with rioting – a charge too arbitrary to be admissible. 

This harassment of workers in the exercise of their jobs led to protests from their respective trade unions, but as usual their complaints were ignored by the authorities. 

State repression of workers was also evident in the prosecution of trade union leaders. In July 2020 some of them were candidates in the pro-democracy primary for the Legislative Council elections. Among these leaders, Carol Ng, president of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), and Winnie Yu, president of the Hospital Administration Employees Alliance (HAEA), were arrested for alleged subversion of the State’s power. More than ten thousand people have been arrested since 2019 because of the movement related to the new National Security Act, including Lee Cheuk-yan, HKCTU General Secretary. The latter is facing nine charges, all related to four unauthorized pro-democracy mass rallies, such as the June 4 candlelight vigil. His first trial begins on February 16. The others will be held later. 

Yet, in terms of our willingness to fight, these challenges will but push us to fight harder, until victory. 

Video in English: 

In addition, we invite you, in your personal capacity and as an organization, to: 

With our best greetings, 

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU)