[fse-esf] URGENT: New calls of action in solidarity with the Hong
Kong protestors on bail
Pierre.Rousset at ras.eu.org
Wed Jan 4 10:42:43 CET 2006
I am forwarding a new urgent call for the HK protestors on bail.
The situation in Hong Kong is quite serious.
Dear Friends in WSF IC,
Greetings of solidarity from Korea.
I know that all of you are busy preparing for the upcoming WSF, but we
need your urgent attention and action.
As you may already be aware, there are still 14 (2 Korean workers, 9
Korean peasants, 1 activist from Japan, 1 student from Taiwon, 1
Chinese citizen) detained in Hong Kong and charged for unlawful
assembly for the demonstrations against the WTO on 17th Dec. Their next
trial is due to be held on 11th January, and we expect the upcoming
trial to be very important.
KoPA, as member of the IC, and part of the Korean Struggle Mission
against HK WTO Ministerial, urges you and your organization to take
action to demand the release of the 14.
This, of course, is not a request to act on behalf of IC, but as
individual organizations - merely using the IC list serve!! For
details, please refer to below.
Sorry for cross-posting!! Please spread widely!
URGENT ACTION REQUESTED!!
International Campaign for the Immediate Release of WTO Political
(Sponsoring organizations: Korean Struggle Mission---Korean
Confederation of Trade Unions, Korean Peasants League, and Korean
Catholic Farmers Association---Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions,
Hong Kong People's Alliance, and Via Campesina)
For background information read the full release of the "International
Campaign for the Immediate Release of WTO Political Prisoners"
(attached PDF file)
Hunger Strike Launched by the WTO Political Prisoners
12 of the 14 WTO Political Prisoners have decided to launch an
indefinite hunger strike starting January 5 to not only highlight the
injustice of their case, but more importantly highlight the reason for
them coming to Hong Kong---to protest against the WTO. Their fight was
not with the people of Hong Kong, but with the undemocratic institution
of the WTO and the free trade policies implemented by the WTO without
any real consultation with workers and farmers.
Call for Action
We are calling for the international community to express your outrage
to the Hong Kong government and the Hong Kong police by calling for the
immediate release of the 14 WTO political prisoners. We are asking
individuals and organizations to participate in a variety of activities
that we are launching in conjunction with the Hunger Strike by the WTO
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1 International Support Letter Writing Campaign
Write to Donald Tsang calling for the immediate release of the 14 WTO
Political Prisoners. Please see the enclosed sample letter. Send copies
of all letters to the International Committee for the Immediate Release
of the WTO political prisoners at antiwto2005 at naver.com and
hkpa.documentation at gmail.com.
(by 9th January)
2 Coordinate an International Day of Action
We are calling for interested organizations and individuals to
coordinate a protest rally in front of the Chinese Embassy on Monday,
January 9, 2006 at 12:00 pm. In addition to the rally, we urge people
to meet with embassy officials calling for the immediate release of the
14 WTO Political Prisoners.
Please send all information of international day of actions to
antiwto2005 at naver.com and hkpa.documentation at gmail.com.
3 Participate in an Internal Solidarity Mission to Hong Kong.
We are coordinating an international delegation consisting of key
leaders from trade unions, human rights groups, civil society
organizations, peasant's groups, and other social movements to
participate in a solidarity mission to Hong Kong. The program will
start with a local rally coordinated by Hong Kong support groups on
January 8, participating in the international day of action and press
conference on January 9, visiting key members within the Hong Kong
government and the prosecution on January 10 and ending with observing
the pre-trial hearing scheduled for January 11.
For more information about the International Solidarity Mission, please
contact Elizabeth Tang of the HKCTU at 852-9091-9088 and Jin Sook Lee
of the KCTU at 852-6733-8395
4 Solidarity Hunger Strike
We are calling for individuals and organizations to conduct a
solidarity hunger strike for either one meal or one day anytime between
January 5 to 11, 2006.
Please send all information of solidarity hunger strike to
antiwto2005 at naver.com and hkpa.documentation at gmail.com.
5 Financial Support
We appeal for financial support towards the expenses that the detainees
have incurred as a result of the detention. Donations can be sent to
HKBS 001-393248-001 or by cheques payable to Student Christian Movement
of Hong Kong. Please send cheques to Mr. Chan Chiu Wai at 7/F Wing Wong
Building 557-559 Nathan Road Kowloon, Hong Kong. Be sure to note on the
cheque that the donation is "support for arrested WTO protestors".
International Support Letter Writing Campaign
Please continue to show your solidarity with the 14 WTO Political
Prisoners. A new sample letter is included below which reflects the
most current information about the status of the 14 detainees, and
specifically calls on the government to address human rights
Mr. Donald Tsang
Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong
People's Republic of China
Via fax: 852-2509-0577 or Via e-mail ceo at ceo.gov.hk
January 4, 2006
Dear Chief Executive Tsang:
On behalf of ________, I am writing to express our deep concerns about
the arrest of 14 protestors from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and
mainland China, who are facing charges of unlawful assembly for the
events that transpired on the December 17, 2005 near the vicinity of
the 6th World Trade Organizationâ€™s Ministerial Conference site in
The 14 protestors charged were among more than 1,300 people arrested on
the night of December 17 questioning the on-going negotiations within
the conference site, which would undoubtedly be detrimental to the
livelihood of farmers, workers, and people around the world. The
protestors were attempting to voice their frustration and desperation
at yet another round of the WTO Ministerial conference that yielded no
measures to alleviate poverty or to address their concerns.
Although all fourteen are released on bail, it is our understanding
that the Hong Kong government has formally charged them with
â€œunlawful assemblyâ€ and they are considering adding new charges. We
are very concerned by the actions of the Hong Kong government and the
police. Thus, we strongly call for the immediate release of the 14
protestors so that they can return home to their families.
We must also voice our serious concerns at the uncalled for and
excessive use of force by the Hong Kong Police during the night of the
17th. Many were injured, and electric shock batons were used, while
reports of â€˜beanbags pelletsâ€™ being fired upon have also been
confirmed. We have been told that there were numerous instances of
human rights violations during the process of detaining over 1,300
protestors that have been documented by human rights organizations. We
urge that an impartial and thorough inquiry into the human rights
violations and the violence used on the part of the Hong Kong police
As concerned __________ regarding this matter, we would like to point
out that a failure to properly investigate and rectify human rights
violations would reflect negatively on the human rights standards of
the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. A harsh sentence for
the 14 would also put into question the democratic tolerance of the
region, taking into account that no foreigners have been arrested in
previous cases of similar demonstrations.
We will continue to monitor closely the proceedings regarding the 14
protestors and again stress our call for the immediate release of the
We thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
(list of signatories)
CC: Pascal Lamy
Fax: 41-22-731-42-06 or enquiries at wto.org
During the 6th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference that was
held in Hong Kong from December 13 to 18, 2005, thousands of
participants representing trade unions and labor rights groups,
peasant’s, civil society, migrant rights, and women’s organizations,
and social movement organizations participated in a series of peaceful
protests, rallies, and other actions to protest the WTO and its impact
on workers, farmers, and people all around the world, specifically in
On the eve of the conclusion of the WTO Ministerial meetings (December
17), these groups realized that despite their many efforts, to express
their concerns and have their voices heard, the so-called
representatives of the people continuously refused to listen.
Government officials and trade analysts had cloistered themselves in
the convention center pushing forward to achieve some sort of consensus
and finalize an agreement that would once again clearly favor developed
countries, fail to alleviate poverty, and further increase the gap
between the rich and poor.
As rally participants attempted to make their way to the convention
center, the Hong Kong police forcibly blocked them. Knowing that this
could be their last chance, the participants decided to move forward.
Although the Hong Kong police attempted to disperse the crowd, the
participants were desperate to enter the convention site. They became
increasingly frustrated by the efforts of the Hong Kong police to stop
and silence them and as a result a confrontation ensued between the
participants and the Hong Kong police.
Hong Kong Police Violations Against Demonstrators
During this confrontation the police used excessive force, pepper
spray, tear gas, and more importantly anti-riot beanbags (rubber
bullets) to stop the participants. It was recently revealed that the
Hong Kong police had never used beanbag bullets on demonstrators in
Hong Kong, and that they are only intended to be used against rioters.
It should be noted that the participants in no way started a riot nor
was it their intention to do so. The intentions of their actions were
peacefully motivated and thus, the response of the police in no way
warranted such drastic actions.
As a consequence many were injured during the confrontation.
Little past midnight on December 18, the Hong Kong police surrounded
the protestors and refused to let anyone to either enter or leave the
cordoned area. Starting at 2:30 am, the police declared that everyone
was participating and an “unlawful assembly” and began to
systematically arrest more than 1,300 participants. Since the police
did not have sufficient vans to transfer the participants, it took them
over ten hours to arrest everyone and incarcerate them in 14 detention
centers across Hong Kong.
During the arresting and detention process a number were beaten by the
police, hundreds were forced to be handcuffed in plastic cable wires
behind their backs for more than three hours waiting to be processed by
the police at the detention centers, and in certain cases, in the early
stages of the detention, women were strip searched. A large number of
detainees were held for 48 hours, the legal time frame for the Hong
Kong police to either charge those arrested or release them. During
this time many participants, in some cases 20 people together, were
forcibly cramped into 3x3 cells with no blanket to cover the cold
14 WTO Political Prisoners
In the end, the Hong Kong government released all of the participants
except 14 individuals who they deemed to be the ringleaders and thus
responsible for damages to public property and injuries suffered by the
Hong Kong police. Of the fourteen arrested, nine are South Korean
farmers, two are members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
(KCTU), one is a homeless rights activist in Japan, one is a Taiwanese
student, and one is mainland Chinese. Although the 14 WTO Political
Prisoners are out on bail, twelve of the defendants (eleven Korean and
one Japanese) are currently living in a local church due to the
generosity of the Hong Kong Catholic Bishop, awaiting their trial. It
should be noted that this is the first time that foreign nationals have
been charged and are undergoing a formal trail procedure for
participating in actions against the WTO.
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