Speech at CFDT: We shall overcome the darkness

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Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor Executive Director Mung Siu Tat speaking at CDFT congress on June 16, 2022.
Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor Executive Director Mung Siu Tat speaking at CDFT congress on June 16, 2022.

Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor’s Executive Director was invited to the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT) congress in Lyon, France on 16 June.

Dear Brothers and Sisters of CDFT, 

I am very proud of being here, being with you together, being with an militant, progressive and democratic labour confederation in France.

Thanks for your invitation and giving me a chance to share with you about the Hong Kong labour movement. My name is Mung Siu Tat. I had worked for the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions for 26 years and as the chief executive of this organisation for ten years.  

Fighting for an independent labour movement that is not controlled by the regime has been my lifelong mission and dream. 

But today, I regret and sadly tell you that the Hong Kong independent labour movement has suffered an unprecedented political suppression. Today, our confederation no longer exists. It was forced to dissolve under the intensive political attack. Our former General Secretary Lee Cheuk-yan and former Chairperson Carol Ng are now in prison for peaceful demonstrations and freedom of expression, and both of them have been accused of ‘’inciting subversion of state power” and ‘’subversion of state power’’ respectively under the national security law. I myself was forced to leave Hong Kong with my family and relocated in UK under the threat of arrest. 

Although our confederation can no longer exist, I strongly believe that the spirit of HKCTU, as the independent labour movement fighting for democracy and labour dignity, will never die and will continue to blossom everywhere in Hong Kong and in China!

After the introduction of National Security Law since 2020, there have been more than 170 people being arrested under this law, most of them are leaders of democratic movement, student activists, trade union organisers and reporters. Without any doubts, the law has become the weapon of the regime to crackdown the democratic and social movement.

However, in the face of such a harsh beating, our comrades in Hong Kong do not give up, and even those who are in prison do not choose to surrender to the regime. On the past June Fourth, the 1989 Tiananmen massacre anniversary, our General Secretary Lee Cheuk-yan still lit a match in replace of candlelight in prison and went on hunger strike, insisting on mourning June Fourth and stating in an open letter that ‘’he will insist that to fight for democracy is not a crime”. Despite the political control of the national security law, in the past one year, there have still been cases of collective workers’ struggles. Coca cola workers went on strike against the outsourcing policy, the construction workers blocked the road to fight for their unpaid wages, and Foodpanda delivery workers went on mass strikes for reasonable treatment. No matter how much the regime tried to impose control, it could never stop the workers from going out for their own survival and dignity.  

However, under the totalitarian repression, the workers’ movement in Hong Kong may not be able to liaise the international workers’ movement or seek supports from the international community as they did before. The intention of the Chinese government is quite clear, it is to use the national security law to smear the international solidarity as “collusion with foreign forces”, isolating the people movement in Hong Kong. Therefore, a group of trade unionists and labour activists including myself based in UK, have decided to set up a new group called “Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor”, hoping to bring the message of the Hong Kong workers’ struggle to the world and seek international supports for our brothers and sisters in Hong Kong. We therefore call on your support to the fight for the release of all political prisoners in Hong Kong, to continue your solidarity with the Hong Kong independent labour movement, and to keep saying ‘No!’ loudly to the Chinese dictatorship. 

We have a long way to go. No one knows when we are able to overcome darkness, but one thing is for sure that the values and beliefs we hold will live longer than the dictatorship. Just like the slogan on the T shirt I am wearing ‘’constant dropping of water can wear away a stone’’. 

In solidarity 
Thank you very much. 

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