Press Release

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in Support of Hong Kong Demonstrations

In response to the worker strikes and student-led demonstrations in Hong Kong for democratic reform, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka issued the following statement of support:

“Hong Kong's students, workers and citizens are bravely standing up for democracy and the right to peaceably assemble as they fight for that most basic democratic right to nominate and elect their own leaders--a right promised Hong Kong people by Britain and China in 1997 and vouchsafed for them under international law. 

The central Chinese government has denied that right. Last night Hong Kong authorities deployed excessive force against peaceful demonstrations by secondary school and university students, trade unionists and citizens seeking to protest the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong. 

This unprecedented use of excessive force by HK authorities against its citizens has included tear gas and even suggestions that live ammunition rounds could be unleashed against the youth and citizens of Hong Kong. 

Our brothers and sisters in the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and the Teachers' Union have called for a general strike in support of the students fighting for democracy. We, as trade unionists and advocates for democracy, fully support our Hong Kong brothers and sisters in their struggle. 

We specifically call on the Hong Kong government to abandon use of excessive force against peaceful students, workers and citizens. There is no reason to throw tear gas and threaten to shoot your citizens. 

We call on the Chinese authorities to commence discussions with Hong Kong citizens on how to speedily implement the undoubted democratic right of Hong Kong people to freely nominate persons to be candidates in democratic elections--a basic right being denied. 

We call on our government to underscore to China and Hong Kong that violent repression is not an acceptable way to address the deep, wide and persistent demands of Hong Kong people for basic democratic rights.”

Contact: Sean Savett (202) 637-5018