Online event “Democracy and Human Rights Without Borders” in Japan

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In mid-September, HKLRM’s Executive Director Christopher Mung attended an online event “Democracy and Human Rights Without Borders” held by Japan-based Attac-Japan, JCA-NET and the Asia Initiative for the Future powered by Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies at the University of Tokyo.

Over 50 people attended the session, including local Japanses as well as Hong Kong and Chinese diaspora in Japan.

Mung said at the seminar that despite the bounty threat on his head, he would continue to advocate for Hong Kong workers. Mung and seven other Hong Kong activists who fled the city received a HK$1 million bounty in July 2023 from the Hong Kong National Security Police.

Mung underlined that that the bounty was intended to isolate Hong Kong from international solidarity, thus marginalising the local labour movement. Mung asked Japanese citizens and civil society to maintain their support for the political prisoners in Hong Kong and to monitor if Japanese corporations respect human rights in their operations in Hong Kong.

Mung was joined at the seminar by Au Loong-yu from the Borderless Movement and Tomoko Ako, professor at the University of Tokyo at the seminar.

Au Loong-yu examined the trajectory of the democracy movement in Hong Kong and emphasised the importance of learning from mistakes and go forward. For example, how to organise in a leaderless movement, and how to coordinate actions without a particular entity dominating the leadership. He believed a certain degree of organisation was required, with the key concern being the implementation of democracy inside the organisation. He believed that Hong Kong should foster a wide “Hongkongers democratic community” while expressing concern over the rise of a confined nationalistic perspective.

In the final sections of the seminar, Tomoko Ako invited participants to make connections between the past to the future. For example, how did the colonial Hong Kong shape the social and economic injustice in Hong Kong, and how economic issues seldom get attention within Hong Kong’s democratic movement. She also encouraged participants to take China into the consideration, such as the A4-revolution in China last year and what role the international community should play. And lastly, how the civil society in Japan and worldwide can stand in solidarity with the people and work towards the goal.