HKCTU Launches Global Action Week. International Solidarity for Arrested Labour Activist in China
The Jasic labour struggle in the late July 2018 had triggered a series of crackdowns on labour movement in China. The suppression is already beyond the Jasic incident itself. Some labor activists who did not involve in the Jasic struggle and media editors who concern workers' rights were also targeted. Under the development of this situation, the HKCTU calls for global solidarity to support the detained labour activists in China.
From July 2018 to March 31, 2019, a total of more than 50 students, left-wing youth, workers' representatives, labor activists and organization officials were arrested on different charges. Most of them failed to meet with their lawyers as guaranteed by the law. The family members did not know their status in prison, and the reason to detain them, which make the situation worrying.
In response to the Chinese Government's suppression on workers' rights and freedom of association, the HKCTU, together with the League of Social Democrats and other labour organizations in Hong Kong, marched from Western District Police Station to the Liaison Office to request the Chinese government to release the arrested labour activists on 26 March 2019. The demonstrators pointed out that the Chinese government established the country with socialism, but abandoned its left-wing foundation and vigorously suppressed the labour movement and independent trade unions by means of high-handedness, dictatorship, and collusion between government and business.
The Korea Confederation of Trade Unions
In addition, the HKCTU and Globalization Monitor initiated an online petition campaign on LabourStart, and launched a global action week from March 25 to 31, 2019, calling on trade unions and organizations around the world to protest at local Chinese Embassy, taking group photos to show solidarity or emails to Prime Minister Li Keqiang, demanding for immediate and unconditional release of the arrested activists, and amend the relevant laws to comply with international standards of freedom of association. The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF), the Portuguese union of dockworkers in Porto, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, the SENTRO from the Philippines and the Clean Clothes Campaign, responded to the call and protested against the Chinese Government's suppression on labour movement.
On March 29th, the SENTRO launched an action to protest outside the Chinese Embassy in Manila. The protesters believed that the Chinese Government has suppressed the civil society with tough measures in recent years, and has also established a "big data system" to monitor civil society, which suffocates the development of social movement. Josua Mata, General Secretary of SENTRO, pointed out in his speech that the Chinese Government, as a titular member of the International Labour Organization’s Governing Body, should set an example to respect and protect workers' rights and interests in accordance with international standards, but in fact the Chinese government has taken the lead to suppress basic labour rights. Therefore he believed that the Chinese Government should resign from the post of titular member of the ILO Governing Body.
In recent years, the Chinese Government has been emphasizing its own "progress" and "achievements" in economy, democracy and human rights. However, even if China has "a small group of people getting rich", the livelihood of grassroots in China is worsening rapidly, due to the growing disparity between rich and poor. The Chinese Government has never intended to encounter the difficulties faced by Chinese workers, but tried to resolve the inciting social atmosphere and workers' dissatisfaction through suppression. The Chinese government must recognize an important fact that without morality, "upstarts" will never be respected by the world.