In this newsletter:
- HK Speech therapists’ court petition letters
- Irish Congress Trade Union’s Global Solidarity Summer School
Five speech therapists, Man-Ling Lai, Melody Yeung, Sidney Ng, Samuel Chan, and Tsz-ho Fong, from the now disbanded General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists (GUHKST), were found guilty of “conspiracy to print, publish, distribute, display and/or reproduce seditious publications” and sentenced to 19 months in prison over three children’s books deemed to be criticising the government. The five were also the union organisers of GUHKST.
In the court judgement, the judge emphasised that to protect national security, it is necessary to restrict freedom of speech and publication with “seditious” laws. HKLRM Managing Director Ming Lam spoke to Deutsche Welle last week and discussed the case.
“The sentence has set a very bad precedent for any kind of publication in the future wishing to make comments and opinions on how one sees the government.” – Ming Lam
Therapists’ petitions in the court
The five speech therapists pleaded not guilty and planned to read out their petitions in front of the court. However, the judge interrupted their speeches, saying they were making a political manifesto. Read their petitions below.
A reflection on the eve of sentencing – Man-Ling Lai’s court petition letter
“Today is 7 September. Three more days until the sentencing. I would like to share my reflections on the case. The five-day trial and the 13 long months of remand have been inspiring. The whole trial can be concluded with one question: ‘How free is freedom of speech?'”
Melody Yeung’s court petition letter
“As a defendant who chose not to plead guilty, I decided to dismiss my lawyer and make my own case after five days of trial. I am puzzled by the fact that my defence could only be done under this established legal framework…”
Sidney Ng’s court petition letter
“The union (GUHKST) was established with the mission of “walking with the voiceless”. It is surprising that the Hong Kong Trade Union Registry deregistered such a small, unremarkable union on the grounds of ‘suspected of endangering national security'”.
Irish Congress Trade Union’s Global Solidarity Summer School
Hong Kong Labour Right’s Monitor Executive Director Siu-tat Mung was invited to join the Global Solidarity Summer School organised by the Irish Congress Trade Union (ICTU) on 8 September 2022. Mung hosted an online workshop about the Hong Kong labour rights movement.
In the workshop, Mung explained the crackdown on union leaders and organisations since the implementation of the National Security Law; a large number of trade unions were thus forced to disband. He also shared his take on how the Hong Kong protest movement can learn from Eastern Europe’s democratisation. Read more about the summer school.
HK Labour Rights Monitor