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December 2, 2021 – The ITUC is calling on the Chinese authorities to immediately repeal the national security law in Hong Kong and to release prisoners detained under it as evidence grows that the law is being used to dismantle independent civil society.

A recent estimate suggests that over 50 groups in Hong Kong have gone in just 11 months –including the ITUC-affiliate the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), after over 30 years of improving life for working people through improvements in labour legislation, wages and social protection.

Lee Cheuk Yan, general secretary of the HKCTU, is in prison for participating in pro-democracy events and faces more charges for his role as chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (the Hong Kong Alliance).

Civil society groups have faced unprecedented attacks, intimidation and allegations of offenses under the national security law since it was enacted in July 2020.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC general secretary, said: “Enough is enough. The only way forward now is for this repressive, so-called ‘national security’ law to be repealed and for all political prisoners to be released, and we demand an end to further prosecutions and intimidation.”

“This law has now clearly shown its real face as a political tool to suppress opposition and dissent.

“As our report, Rings of Repression, spells out, the Chinese Communist Party has accelerated its political occupation of Hong Kong. China is not a safe place, and the International Olympic Committee and governments must do more to guarantee the security and safety of athletes and all others who are attending the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

“We welcome the decision by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), citing the risks faced by staff and players, to suspend all tournaments in China following the treatment of Peng Shuai after her allegation of sexual assault.

“The IOC should stand up and take robust action to ensure that everyone is safe at the Winter Games.”

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) represents 200 million members of 332 affiliates in 163 countries and territories. www.ituc-csi.org