10/04/2021, 13.32
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Pro-democracy union, terrorized by security law, also dissolves

It is the third pro-democracy group to close its doors in less than two weeks. Driven by political pressure from the authorities. Since its adoption, the security measure has led to the arrest of 154 people.  96 remanded for trial. A 24-year-old already sentenced to 9 years in prison. Organized opposition of democratic civil society now eliminated.


Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The Confederation of Trade Unions decided yesterday to disband: it is the third pro-democracy group to close its doors in less than two weeks because of the systematic use of the National Security Act against the democratic front.

The Confederation was the main opposition labor organization in Hong Kong. Founded in 1990, it had 93 affiliated unions and 145 thousand members: in 2019 it played a major role in the large anti-government protests that led to the cancellation of the controversial extradition bill. Its representatives explained that the dissolution was due to the political pressure it faced.

Several pro-Beijing media outlets have accused the federal government of violating the security measure by receiving funds from foreign forces and conspiring with them, as well as promoting "anti-Chinese activities" in the former British colony.

Rthk reports that leaders of the union grouping received warning messages that they would risk personal problems if they did not proceed with the closure. The threats terrified the Confederation's leadership, prompting Executive Director Mung Siu Tat to resign and flee Hong Kong. After the arrest in January of President Carol Ng, the organization had promised to "not give in" to political persecution and would fight "to the last breath."

Thus the city executive and the central government have effectively eliminated the organized opposition of democratic civil society. On October 2, the group Student Politicism was disbanded: the authorities accused four of its members of plotting to incite subversion, a crime punishable by the Security Act. On September 25 it was the turn of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which on June 4 every year organizes the traditional vigil in memory of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.

Two other historic organizations had previously ceased operations: the Teachers Union and the Civil Human Rights Front. The former was the city's largest trade union, the latter the main democratic coalition. Now also at risk is the existence of the Hong Kong Journalists Association. Targeted by the authorities with arrests and freezing of funds, the independent newspaper Apple Daily and its publishing company Next Digital also closed down between June and early September.

Imposed by Beijing in June 2020, since its adoption the security law has led to the arrest of 154 people, including children under 15. Those remanded for trial number 96, including prominent figures in the democratic camp such as Jimmy Lai, Benny Tai and Lee Cheuk-yan... In July, the first sentence was handed down: nine years to 24-year-old Tong Ying-kit, guilty, according to the judges, of inciting secession and terrorism.

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