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18 October 2017

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong

Adam N Lee, chinaworker.info

Protesters gathered outside China's embassies and consulates, as well as the Hong Kong government's economic and trade offices, in 22 cities across 20 countries on 12-13 October. The protests were part of a newly launched international campaign, 'Global Solidarity - Stop Repression in Hong Kong'.

Protesters in Bangalore, India, defied a police ban in order to go ahead with their demonstration, while in the Russian capital Moscow anti-democratic laws that severely limit freedom of expression meant that only one brave young woman was permitted to take part in the protest outside the Chinese embassy.

The protests and the campaign statement from Stop Repression in Hong Kong were presented at a press conference in the Legislative Council on 13 October.

Speeches from three TDs (MPs) in the Irish parliament - Socialist Party members Paul Murphy, Ruth Coppinger and Mick Barry - were shown on video. It underlined that this was not a one-off protest but the start of a campaign to increase international pressure on the unelected Hong Kong government over its recent attacks on democratic rights.

Sally Tang Mei-ching of Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong), a coordinator of the campaign, described the recent repression in Hong Kong as unprecedented. "Left-wing councillors, labour activists and union representatives of different countries have recently helped to launch this campaign, organising through it a series of international solidarity actions," she explained.

When asked by the media if the international protests would achieve anything, she stressed that it was only the beginning of the campaign and the government should have every reason to be worried that their policies were arousing concern and criticism around the world.

The international solidarity from grassroots organisations and ordinary people can encourage further mass resistance against the repression inside Hong Kong and also in China against the CCP (so-called 'Communist') dictatorship, she said.

Political prisoners

Also in attendance at the Hong Kong press conference were ousted legislator 'Long Hair' of the League of Social Democrats (LSD), who is a prime victim of the government's undemocratic purge, and four legislators, including Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung of the Labour Party and Shui Ka Chung, an independent pan-democrat.

The campaign is demanding the release of political prisoners in Hong Kong. This is a term the CCP-controlled Hong Kong government hotly rejects. However, the use of the courts to impose harsh jail sentences on democracy activists, including many youngsters and prominent representatives of the 2014 'Umbrella Revolution', is widely seen as a politically motivated attack on the democracy movement and an attempt to criminalise mass protests.

A new trial of 20 activists was held on 13 October. They were accused of defying a court order to clear the Mongkok occupation site during the Umbrella protests, and all 20 were found guilty.

This outcome was expected given the current repressive climate in Hong Kong. The sentences will be handed down this week and it is feared many if not all the 20 will also go to jail, where 16 young activists are already serving sentences for their role in political protests calling for democracy.

The government's political purge is particularly targeting the more radical and struggle-orientated sections of the democracy movement such as the LSD and student-led party Demosisto.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26326