What is the campaign “Not OK, Beijing” about?
The demonstrations for democracy in Hong Kong have grown rapidly. Around half a million people have taken to the streets to demand free elections and universal suffrage. Despite earlier promises of “one country, two systems” the government in Beijing continues to block democracy in Hong Kong,
The growing protests ultimately affect all China; the political tug-of-war we now see is not just about Hong Kong. The central government’s great fear is democratic ideals will spread throughout the country. The government’s heavy-handed reaction shows this fear; riot police continue to crack down on demonstrators and hundreds of people have been arrested.
What is happening now in Hong Kong is hugely significant for the democratic development of the entire region. The wider world has responded quietly so far, and criticism of China is weak or nonexistent. China is one of the world’s greatest economic powers – which other countries cannot afford to offend.
Who is behind the campaign?
“Not OK, Beijing” is an international trade union campaign for democracy launched by the Swedish Food Workers’ Union and The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF). The campaign aims to show solidarity with Hong Kong’s independent trade union center HKCTU (Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Union) influence China to keep its promise of free elections in Hong Kong in 2017.
What has happened in Hong Kong in the last 100 years?
The Communist Party of China has abandoned its promise of free Hong Kong elections in 2017. Instead, voters will only be able to choose between candidates pre-selected by a pro-Beijing committee. When this was made public the independent union HKCTU called a general strike connected to the demonstrations of late September and early October 2014. The Chinese government responded with force against demonstrators
1841: Britain occupies Hong Kong.
1897: China leases Hong Kong to Britain for 100 years.
1984: Britain and China sign a Joint Declaration on the handover of Hong Kong, set for 1997. Under the “one country, two systems” formula, Hong Kong will keep its economic system and partially democratic political system. China promises to establish democracy and free elections.
1997: Britain hands back Hong Kong to Chinese rule.
2007: Beijing says it will allow the people of Hong Kong to directly elect their own leader in 2017.
2014: The Chinese government rules out a fully democratic election for a Hong Kong leader in 2017, saying that a pro-Beijing committee will select candidates who can stand for election in Hong Kong. People protest for democracy, and are cracked down on harshly. The outside world reacts slowly.
2017: Democratic elections in Hong Kong?
Read more about Hong Kong at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Hong_Kong.
Why are IUF and the Swedish Food Workers’ Union engaged?
We have a long-standing relationship and a strong cooperation with the free independent union HKCTU in Hong Kong, a strong democratic force that organizes workers from different industries. The active defense of trade union, human and democratic rights is not an adjunct to our industrial work but an essential part of our ongoing activity. For the trade union movement, defending these rights is a fundamental class issue for the simple reason that workers cannot organize in defense of their interests, nor maintain the gains they have achieved, in an anti-democratic environment.
Why a yellow ribbon?
Det gula bandet representerar kravet på allmän rösträtt och fria val. Bandet används på Facebookprofilbilder, kläder, och runt om i Hongkong på lyktstolpar, vägskyltar och polisbarrikader. Läs mer på http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_ribbon.
Vad kan jag göra mer?
Besides sharing www.notokbeijing.org to encourage more people to engage, you can put up yellow ribbons in public spaces, post pictures of them in social media, use the hashtag #DemocracyNowHK on social media, read English-language news sites like The Guardian and the BBC and share material you feel is worth sharing. We need to raise awareness on the global importance of developments in Hong Kong!
What links are good to keep an eye on?
For more information, press photos or contact with elected representatives of the unions behind the campaign please contact Communications Officer Ingrid Persson
Tel. +46 70 6 38 61 10