Last month, Christopher Mung, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor, visited Sweden and spoke to the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) and local think tanks on the crackdown on independent trade unions in Hong Kong. Mung also attended the launch event for LO’s latest report, “Global State of Trade Unions 2023”.
In the report “Global State of Trade Union 2023”, LO explicitly stated that the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) is “strongly allied with the ruling Communist Party” and that all attempts to form free trade unions are “crushed”. The report also emphasised that China’s systematic discrimination and use of forced labour targeting Muslim and other ethnic minorities is a violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
As for the labour rights condition in Hong Kong, LO reported that the democratic space has been gradually restricted since China resumed control over Hong Kong in 1997. This culminated in the adoption of the Hong Kong National Security Law in 2020, where the leaders of Hong Kong’s free trade union movement, HKCTU, have now been imprisoned or forced into exile. The report also said that HKFTU is, in fact, a “yellow trade union” controlled by Beijing.
Christopher Mung also visited the Institute for Security & Development Policy and the Swedish National China Centre on this trip to Sweden.
The Institute for Security & Development Policy has been keen to raise awareness about the deterioration of freedoms and rights in Hong Kong under the Hong Kong National Security Law. They have hosted several seminars on this topic and are interested in organising more online events on Hong Kong labour rights and independent trade unions.
Mung also visited the Swedish National China Centre, one of the country’s leading think tanks and a key policy adviser to the Swedish government on China policy. According to one of the researchers, the kidnapping of Swedish national Gui Minhai in 2015 was a watershed moment in the Swedish-Chinese relationship. The centre has limited access to information regarding the state of Hong Kong’s labour movement and civil society. We hope our exchange has filled that void and are looking forward to our future communication.