MENG Han, a Guangdong labour activist, was released on 3 September after 21 months’ wrongful imprisonment. He was sentenced for “inciting a crowd to disturb public order” because he was merely participated in organising workers in collective labour disputes. We, the undersigned Hong Kong labour organisations, would like to reiterate that Meng was simply defending basic labour rights and exercising the right to freedom of association which, by no means, constitute any criminal offence.
Besides, we are deeply concerned for his personal freedom. Although Meng has reportedly expressed his willingness to continue participating in labour rights movement, he remains under the unlawful 24 hours’ surveillance by the authorities.
The International Labour Organization’s Committee of Freedom of Association (ILO-CFA) published an interim report last November responding to the complaint filed by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) against the Chinese Government on the arrests of labour activists, which has urged the Chinese Government to take the necessary steps to ensure that freedom of association is protected and the released labour activists should be allowed to continue to provide advisory services to workers without hindrance. Therefore, we are aggrieved that Meng’s personal freedom and his right to defend labour rights are persistently infringed by the Chinese Government. We solemnly demand that the Chinese Government must:
1. Ensure Meng’s personal freedom and basic human rights are not to be violated;
2. Ensure Meng can continue to offer any advisory service and organise workers for the defence of their own labour rights without any unreasonable restriction and violation;
3. Stop the arrests of all activists and the suppressions of civil society and labour movement.
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
Labour and Education Service Network
Labour Action China
Asia Monitor Resource Centre
Students and Scholars against Corporate Misbehaviour