Canadian unions express their shock and dismay upon learning of the recent decision of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) to disband.
The HKCTU has faced unprecedented attacks, intimidation and allegations of offences under the National Security Law, leaving them no other alternative. The Law, enacted last year, criminalizes activities deemed to support or incite secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and collusion with foreign entities.
“We are distressed to witness the loss of a significant trade union actor and to know this is part of the complete weakening and dismantling of a once robust and vital civil society,” said Bea Bruske, President of the CLC.
Canada’s unions have stood in solidarity with the HKCTU and its affiliates throughout the years of pro-democracy protests and have strongly condemned the arrest and prosecution of trade union leaders imprisoned for exercising their rights of freedom of association. We have defended the legitimate right of trade unions to participate in social and economic activities.
Amid an ongoing campaign by state-owned media that labels trade unions as foreign agents, the Chinese authorities have alleged that the HKCTU’s affiliation to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and its legitimate cooperation with unions from other countries involves collusion. International affiliation and cooperation are protected under the International Labour Organization’s Convention 87 on Freedom of Association.
Canada’s unions join the global call on the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to cease prosecutions and intimidation of trade unionists and advocates for fundamental freedoms and to release those who have been imprisoned.
We stand in solidarity with Hong Kong’s trade union leaders and workers and demand that their fundamental rights and civil liberties are respected.