Labour MPs John McDonnell, Nadia Whittome and Clive Lewis have circulated the statement below to their fellow MPs – to give support to HKCTU leader Lee Cheuk-Yan, other prominent democracy leaders and socialists who face trial from February 16 on the charge of ‘unauthorised assembly’. This charge relates to when 1.7 million joined them on the streets of Hong Kong on August 18, 2019.
Lee talks about it in this HKCTU video
Our further thanks to the 38 MPs and many prominent trade union and other activists who signed the statement below in the lead up to the trial. They are listed at this link.
We are asking trade unionists and activists:
- To add your name to the statement below using the online form.
- Prepare for future solidarity with those facing arrests, trials and imprisonment in the repression now taking place in Hong Kong trade unionist.
We will keep all signing the statement informed of future actions.
- If you are on Twitter, click here to tweet in support.
Add your name to those of John, Nadia and Clive using this form below.
We will add all names to our database for future information on solidarity. You will be able to withdraw your name from that database at any time.
Statement of Solidarity with Hong Kong Trade Unionists and Democracy Campaigners
On February 16th, a key trial will start in Hong Kong. Prominent trade union and democracy activists will face charges of organising an ‘unauthorised assembly’.
One of those is Lee Cheuk-Yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), Chair of the HK Labour Party and a well-respected trade unionist of international standing.
International action has been called for by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) https://www.ituc-csi.org/welovefreedominhk in support of Lee and others facing trial for involvement in the democracy movement.
The ITUC is launching a social media campaign, coordinated in this country by the Labour Movement for Solidarity With Hong Kong (UK) and is inviting supporters to participate and express their solidarity.
In the trial that starts on February 16, Lee and eight other prominent HK activists are charged with organising an ‘unauthorised assembly’. This was in response to the organising of the big march on 18 August 2019 attended by 1.7 million people – the first of four trials scheduled against Lee for organising marches banned in breach of the rights of assembly guaranteed under the Basic Law.
Over 10,000 Hong Kongers were arrested in the course of the 2019-2020 democracy protests and more than 2,000 charged. Many have already been imprisoned, including Joshua Wong. Many more are facing trial. Most of the more serious charges being brought under the National Security Law (NSL) – carrying up to ten year prison sentences – are only now being invoked.
Some of the most worrying arrests have been of those who stood in the 2019 democratic primaries in which 600,000 Hong Kongers voluntarily took part as voters.
Amongst them are leading trade unionists Carol Ng and Winnie Yu as well as most of the democracy leaders, Benny Tai, Joshua Wong and 50 others.
Carol became Chair of the HKCTU after leading the British Airways cabin crew union dispute. Winnie, Chair of the health workers unions, the HAEA, led an eight-day strike of 8,000 health workers in February 2019.
Trade unions in Hong Kong have become a powerful platform for democracy. They have grown phenomenally over the last year. However, the laws are stacked against them and as a result of the 1997 ‘handover to China’ being enacted by a Tory government.
As in Britain, Hong Kong workers have no rights to take part in political strikes. Workers have consequently been victimised for their political beliefs. It is alleged that this has included British owned companies like the HSBC and Standard Chartered banks and by Swire, which has huge commercial investments in China and is owner of Cathay Pacific airline. Cathay Pacific was one of the first to be accused of sacking workers for social media expressions of support for Hong Kong democracy.
We demand of the Hong Chief Executive and the Chinese government that they release all political prisoners in Hong Kong, grant universal suffrage to the people of Hong Kong and repeal the National Security Law. We call for action against those British companies and individuals that are endorsing, collaborating with the NSL and the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong.
We will be showing our solidarity with Lee and the others being victimised in Hong Kong on the dates called for by the ITUC – February 14 and 15 and along the guidelines they suggest. We urge others to join us in this solidarity action – further info at https://bit.ly/39YzHFF.
We stand with Lee Cheuk-Yan, the Hong Kong independent trade unions, the democracy protests and for democratic freedom for Hong Kong.
We ask that others add their name to this call and join us in action next week.