URGENT

Communiqué from the China Inquiry Commission

The China Inquiry Commission today learned of the decision of the Executive Committee of the HKCTU, Hong Kong’s independent trade union confederation, to prepare for the dissolution of the union, which will be put to a membership vote on 3 October. After throwing HKCTU President Carol Ng and General Secretary Lee Cheuk-Yan into jail earlier this year, the government has now decided to physically threaten the still active confederation leaders after a shameful smear campaign, forcing them to resign. This follows the termination of the HKPTU teachers’ union last month, a 95,000- member union affiliated to the HKCTU, and presages further attacks on the trade union movement, for example on the HAEA, the hospital staff union, now accused of breaking the law.

This trade union confederation which is independent of the govern- ment and formerly counted a hundred or so unions and 145,000 union members, is thus being forced by a government led and monopolised by the Chinese Communist Party to give up defending workers’ demands and rights.

The China Inquiry Commission, which has placed international workers’ solidarity at the heart of its work, considering that « the right of workers to independent organisation knows no borders« , condemns these attacks on independent trade unions and workers’ rights organisations. For example, the AMRC (Asia Monitor Resource Centre, a regional workers’ information organisation based in Hong Kong) is also being forced to leave Hong Kong.

It was the AMRC that in 1994 campaigned to expose the working conditions of toy workers in China as dictated by Hong Kong bosses in the Shenzhen Economic Zone, where 87 young workers lost their lives one night in 1993 in a factory fire, doors padlocked from the outside and bars on the windows. And it is the same people who yesterday protected the bosses in Shenzhen who today condemn the HKCTU and the AMRC in Hong Kong.

The China Inquiry Commission again appeals to the leaders of the international labour movement: it is your imperative duty to strongly condemn these attacks on the Chinese labour movement and to demand respect for the inalienable right to freely form trade unions. J. Wong, who still chairs the HKCTU, said yesterday: « The labour move- ment has always emphasised international solidarity. The HKCTU’s cooperation or relationship with unions in other regions is natural and justified, the government has never in the last 30 years said that this violates the law”.

20 September 2021