Throughout the IUF Asia/Pacific Region, our members are outraged by the imprisonment of Brother Lee Cheuk-yan, General Secretary of Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU).

Brother Lee Cheuk-yan was charged for involvement in five “unauthorised” rallies in the 2019 peaceful protest movement, May 1st and the June 4th Candlelight Vigil in 2020. He was sentenced to 14 months with two more cases pending trial.

In his submission to the court, Brother Lee Cheuk-yan reaffirmed that he had done “no wrong in affirming the rights of people to peaceful procession and I believe history will absolve me”.

May 1st – international workers’ day – is our day for workers around the world. It commemorates the Haymarket massacre in Chicago in 1886 when a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour work day was brutally repressed.

The June 4th Candlelight Vigil commemorates the bloody repression of the democracy movement of students and autonomous workers organizations in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

To ensure we do not forget these momentous acts of collective courage in our common history, HKCTU leaders and members exercised their internationally recognized right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression to honour the sacrifices of workers on May 1, 1886 and June 4, 1989.

Brother Lee Cheuk-yan is now persecuted and imprisoned for exercising these rights – peacefully bringing workers together in remembrance of what we fought for and what we must not lose. Once again it is a tremendous sacrifice in the face of oppression.

This reminds us that we must be relentless in our continued support for workers in Hong Kong in the struggle for freedom and rights. HKCTU represents that freedom and is the only trade union organization defending workers’ rights. We must mobilize support internationally.

The members of IUF in the Asia/Pacific region stand with Brother Lee Cheuk-yan and with HKCTU. And on May 1 and June 4 we will not forget!

Please read Conscience Cannot Be Imprisoned: The Belief Remains, The Resistance Continues | Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (