China’s Power Grab in Hong Kong: Destruction of Fundamental Freedoms

photo: laihiu / LAI Ryanne

The ITUC condemns the Chinese regime’s plan to impose a complete stranglehold on Hong Kong’s legal system and law enforcement. A decision by the regime is imminent, and the Hong Kong government is expected to obey Beijing’s instruction to hand over control of the judiciary and police, in violation of Article 23 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law.“China clearly fears the will of the people of Hong Kong, who have stood up for fundamental freedoms in massive numbers and at great risk to their safety. China has routinely labelled legitimate protests as ‘terrorism’, which is not only a fabrication but also an affront to people everywhere who have suffered at the hands of real terrorists. This latest move would obliterate fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to freedom of association. China’s ruling elite is violating the solemn undertakings it made in 1997, when Hong Kong gained independence from the UK, as it seeks total power over the people of Hong Kong in order to protect its own interests. The international community must condemn China’s actions unequivocally and exert maximum pressure on the Chinese authorities to refrain from imposing these new controls,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

On Sunday 24 May, police again cracked the down on peaceful protesters and assaulted journalists with tear gas, water cannons and pepper spray. Teachers are being accused of inciting students to rebellion and feel pressure to adapt their curricula in the face of targeted cuts to education budgets.

Beijing’s move comes ahead of Hong Kong elections scheduled for September. The new rules mean that China will be able to unilaterally decide which political parties, media and civil society organisations to ban or to allow. The free exercise of fundamental rights in Hong Kong, including the trade union right to freely associate and liaise with international organisations, will be suppressed in the name of national security. This would mean the end of democracy and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong.