Indestructible Flames, Unbreakable Struggles: HKCTU Statement on the 31st Anniversary of June 4th Massacre

A whole generation’s hope for democracy and dream of freedom has crushed into pieces mercilessly, when the tanks drove through the Tiananmen Square on June 4th, 1989.

In Hong Kong, after 31 years, the new generation faces the same regime’s heavy-handed repression, when they voice their demand for democracy and freedom.

Now and then, the same bloodthirsty regime, governing both China to Hong Kong, has seen young people as sacrifices to keep itself in power.

Since the outbreak of anti-extradition bill protests last summer, instead of addressing the demands of the people, the governments deploys police brutality to attack and arbitrarily detain protesters. At the time of writing, some 8000 protesters have been detained, about 1200 have been prosecuted. The mass detention and prosecution turns Hong Kong from a free city into a de facto police state. The rights of freedom to association and assembly have been curtailed in recent months. Hong Kong police banned the vigil for the Tiananmen Square massacre, citing the group gathering restriction as an excuse. It was the first time the commemoration had been banned since the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong.

Fugitive Offenders Ordinance Amendment Bill failed to get enacted due to strong opposition last year, yet the Chinese Communist Party regime keeps intensifying its control over Hong Kong. “One Country, Two Systems" and "a high degree of autonomy" are simply meaningless words on paper. The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region made a sudden and awkward announcement, claiming it had been authorized by the central government to directly interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs without being bound by the Hong Kong Basic Law. The National People's Congress openly violates the Basic Law, attempting to bypass the Hong Kong Legislative Council to enact national security law (known as Article 23 in Hong Kong) under the provisions of Annex III of its Basic Law. It is obvious that CCP, in the name of national security, aims to consolidate the dictatorship, and to wipe out the resistance from the bottom.

Under the shadow of China, the world’s most powerful dictatorship, Hong Kong people’s quest for democracy is guaranteed to be back-breaking and menacing. Yet, it is clear to the protesters that democracy must be earned and no regime could last forever. The forerunners of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests might have failed to introduce democracy to China, but their moral courage and the willingness to sacrifice have become a totem to inspire people from all over the world to fight against totalitarianism, in other words, they left an indelible heritage in the history of the democratic movement.

Apart from the democratic movement in 1989, the protests in Hong Kong last year have been seen as a political enlightenment for a new generation of Hong Kong people. The vitality from the movement is transforming into different forms of resistance, on the streets, in the communities and parliament and at international front, as well as in trade unions backed by the working class. We believe that a solid civil society is our basic line of defense to fight against totalitarianism.

In today's Hong Kong, the working class from all walks of life has organized and set up new trade unions, determined to fight the tyranny from the trade union front. It is indeed a new wave of union movement questing for democracy. This resembles the trade union movement in 1989, when autonomous trade unions were popping up all over China. Though the unionists faced massive detention and crackdown, they planted the seeds of labour struggles all over the place. After thirty-one years, the flame has not been extinguished and the struggle will continue. The Hong Kong independent labour movement will certainly carry this spirit on. We aim to break free from the dictatorship, to realize a truly democratic system and equality.

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions