Education International joins other global union federations and the International Trade Union Confederation in welcoming the release of Hong Kong’s top union leader from jail and condemning the continuous harassment of trade unionists, including in the education sector, by public forces.
Released on 8 January, one day after her imprisonment, after swift international mobilisation, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) president, Carol Ng, stated: “As a union fighter for many years, I know why I committed to my union role and the union fight. I will carry on with what I should do as a union leader, and as a Hong Konger.”
Ng was arrested by local police, along with 52 other activists, for allegedly breaching the National Security law and trying to “overthrow” the government by holding primary elections for pro-democracy candidates in the 2020 postponed elections.
Serious violation of fundamental human rights
“These arrests represent a major violation of basic human rights, in particular freedom of expression and freedom of association, and a clear denial of democratic values,” Education International’s General Secretary, David Edwards said. “We urge the public authorities of Hong Kong to act immediately to release all activists still detained and for the Hong Kong and Chinese governments to revoke this terrible law.”
In the education sector more specifically, Education International condemns the decertification of two teachers and the move by the authorities to muzzle critical thinking by imposing restrictions to curricula in liberal studies subjects in senior secondary education.
On-going harassment of unionised workers
In July 2020, Education International, signed the Council of Global Unions’ joint solidarity statement demanding justice for Lee Cheuk Yan - arrested HKCTU General Secretary – and called on the Hong Kong’ public authorities protect their citizens’ fundamental rights.
The global trade union community will continue to monitor closely the situation of human and trade union rights in this country.