HKCTU general secretary Lee Cheuk-yan (centre)
On Thursday 1 April nine leaders of Hong Kong’s Civil Human Rights Front were convicted of organising and participating in an unauthorised assembly.
Those convicted include most of the long term leading activists of the movement for democracy in Hong Kong, including 82 year old Martin Lee, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) leader Lee Cheuk-yan and socialist activist Leung Kwok Hung (“Long Hair”).
Sentencing was delayed for two weeks to 16 April. Prison sentences of up to five years for each offence may be handed down.
Whilst waiting for sentence, Lee Cheuk-yan faces another trial starting on 7 April and yet another later in the month.
Then early in June the show trial, under the National Security Law of June 2020, will start of the 47 participants in the 2020 democracy primaries, considered by the Hong Kong prosecution an act of sedition to the Chinese regime. The charge carries possible life sentences, and many trade unionists are in the frame.
Some look to action by Western governments. But the weak Magnitsky sanctions, for example, applied by the Tory government on agents of the Chinese regime complicit in the atrocities on the Uyghur people, won’t affect the regime.
A delay to the ratification of the EU-China trade agreement because of China’s failure to comply with human and labour rights may have some effect. But Hongkongers cannot trust capitalist governments around the world to act with any determination against the Chinese regime. They are tied to the profits it makes for them.
Ending the repression in Hong Kong is down to the radical opponents of capitalism and imperialism around the world — and to the international labour movement in particular.