Hong Kong: Activists should be released immediately

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have extended their solidarity to the 47 activists from Hong Kong arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit subversion under the new National Security Law on Sunday, 28 February 2021.

The ITUC and the ITF demand that the ‘Hong Kong’ authorities drop all charges against the activists and release them immediately without conditions.

Among the 47 activists are two trade unionists – Carol Ng, Chairperson of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, and Winnie Yu, Chair of the Hospital Authority Employees’ Alliance. Carol Ng is a well-respected and leading unionist in the ITF’s civil aviation work.

Carol Ng and Winnie Yu have been charged with ‘conspiring to commit subversion of state power’ for their involvement in the 2020 Legislative Council elections.

“The arrest of these 47 activists once more puts the spotlight on the new National Security Law in Hong Kong, which flagrantly violates fundamental civil, political, and labour rights protected by international law,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

“Being a trade unionist is not a crime”

“Trade unions, their members and representatives must have the right to organise protest action and engage in political activities. It is not against the law to express support for a political party that defends the interests of workers or to be in contact with international organisations of workers and employers. Carol and Winnie’s prosecution is a clear sign that these freedoms are now under attack,” said Sharan Burrow.

Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary and Chair of the Council of Global Unions (CGU), reinforced Carol Ng and Winnie Yu’s fundamental right to work for trade union and workers’ rights: “Defending democracy and workers’ rights is not a crime. Being a trade unionist is not a crime. These rights are protected by international law. The global trade union movement stands in absolute solidarity with Carol and Winnie as they face persecution for defending the hard-won rights of workers.”