In his written plea in response to charges of unauthorised assembly on 1 October 2019, Lee Cheuk Yan, the General Secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) explains the significance of June 4, 1989 and why we must not forget.

“… the Chinese civilian movement in 1989 has changed my life. At first I was supporting the movement from Hong Kong and provided help and support in the founding of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (HKA). Later on 30 May 1989 I brought some of the donation raised by HKA to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, where I visited students, workers and intellectuals who were participating in the movement. On the night the June Fourth Incident happened, I was made to leave as I heard that the military was about to evacuate Tiananmen Square with force. All night long I could hear gunshots from my hotel. I saw tanks entering Tiananmen Square at the early hours of the day and three-wheeled tricycles passing by my hotel on Chang’an Avenue transporting corpses and injured people non-stop. On 5 June 1989 I was arrested and taken into custody, and the 3 days which followed were the most fearful days of my life. Fortunately, some Hongkongers came to my rescue and I managed to return to Hong Kong on 8 June 1989. My hope and optimism for a democratic China turned sharply into hopelessness. I believe that a lot of Chinese and Hongkongers at that time have shared my feeling, but we did not give up. We struggled against all odds in the hope of a free and democratic China.”

This is precisely why trade unionists around the world should remember the massacre of students and workers in Tiananmen Square on June 4 and continue this courageous struggle.

Read the full text on the HKCTU website here: Lee Cheuk-yan’s plea: This is my unrequited love, the love for my country with such a heavy heart [HKCTU May 25, 2021]