By Ralph Peters
On 16 February, Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions general secretary Lee Cheuk-yan went into court for his trial for alleged “unauthorised assembly” on 18 August 2019. He said: “Let’s uphold the fundamental rights, freedoms and democracy. As 2021 is the year of the Ox, I wish everyone to be as strong as an ox and persistence for democracy…
“It should be the police, the Department of Justice and the Hong Kong government to be put on trial, because they deprived us of the right to assembly and demonstration, which is protected constitutionally”.
The 18 August 2019 protest, against police brutality and for the “five demands” of the democracy movement, was joined by maybe 1.7 million people.
Nine pro-democrats are on trial alongside Lee Cheuk-Yan, and the case is expected to take 10 days
The others include 81 year old moderate Martin Lee. Also on trial is maverick billionaire Jimmy Lai who both hates Xi Jinping and is hated by him.
International solidarity with Lee has been called for by the International Trade Union Confederation [ITUC] and backed up by the UK-based solidarity campaign. 38 MPs and peers and many trade unionists have signed a statement of solidarity.
Charges are expected soon of the 55 arrested for taking part in the democratic primaries, and to be under the National Security Law. It was announced last week that trials under the NSL will not have juries. Anyone being convicted will face ten years’ jail or more.
International solidarity will be vital.
• See campaign video here