Freedom of Speech is not a crime! Release labour rights activist Liu Shaoming now!

Labour rights activist Liu Shaoming, who has been indicted of “inciting subversion of state power” for publishing online memoirs of his recollections of the 1989 pro-democracy movement was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison on July 7, 2017, which is close to the maximum penalty (5 years sentence) of the crime.

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and a number of Hong Kong based labour NGOs strongly protest the Chinese government’s repression of freedom of speech.  We deem that the sentence handed down to Liu Shaoming was overly severe and the heavy sentence indicates that the Chinese Government’s intention to further control freedom of speech.  In fact, an online memoir was already enough to infuriate the nerves of the regime and instigated the authorities to devise such heavy sentence in dealing with those who dare to tell the truth.

In a similar situation, Nobel Peace Prize Laurate, Liu Xiaobo, was also sentenced to long prison term for expressing himself.  Being locked up behind bars for years and deprived of adequate medical attention, Liu was recently diagnosed terminal hepatic cancer while his health condition is deteriorating rapidly.  However, his request for leaving China to attend medical care was repeatedly rejected by the Chinese government in afraid that he may speak freely against the regime in another country.  In order to cover up the truth, the Chinese Government even denies dissidents’ rights to die in an honorable manner.

On the day of Liu Shaoming’s trial, about 20 representatives from the HKCTU and Hong Kong Labour NGOs gathered at the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in HKSAR to protest against the Chinese Government’s suppression on freedom of association.  We reiterate that freedom of speech is not a crime and demand the unconditional release of Liu Shaoming and Liu Xiaobo.