The final conference of Hong Kong’s only independent trade union federation, the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), was on 3 October.
At a press conference following the HKCTU’s decision to disband, a prepared statement was read out by Vice-Chair Leo Tang, who was himself imprisoned a year ago. The statement expressed its confidence “that the workers’ power of resistance will not therefore fade away. Contradictions bring opposition. Exploitations lead to struggles… One may block the river, but without a way to channel the water, the only result would be a deadlier flood.”
On Thursday 30 September members of Hong Kong’s socialist League of Social Democrats marched against the political imprisonments in both Hong Kong and China. On Friday and Saturday 1-2 October, defiant street protests were held with HKCTU banners still flying.
Repression is increasing, too. On 29 September seven young activists were brought to court under the National Security Law, one of them 15 years old, two others 16. One of the 16-year-olds, Yuen Ka-him, was still in the school uniform he was wearing when arrested the previous day.
Laws were brought in on 30 September that would make “doxxing” — being abusive on social media to public figures — punishable with a sentence of up to ten years in jail, and insulting the Chinese flag with three years.
The HKCTU was the last of the mass organisations that supported the demands of the democracy movement for universal suffrage and against the increasingly repressive powers brought in by the Beijing-controlled Hong Kong Authority. Many of the leaders of the HKCTU are in prison being investigated or facing trial for subversion, as are almost all leaders of that democracy movement who have not made it to exile. Pro-government media, the unofficial mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party leaders in Beijing, have declared that the HKCTU’s contact with international trade union networks such as the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is foreign collusion and subversion.