During the Sixth WTO Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong, people from all over the world come to this city to express their views. The Korean farmers who attract local and global attention are one of the major forces to fight against WTO. They broaden Hong Kong people’s global vision by their songs, dances, slogans, body languages and their strong will. Their presence is definitely a milestone in the global movement against political and economic injustice.
Yet the mainstream media made use of the conflict between Korean farmers and Hong Kong police on December 17 to smear their image. As witnesses to this incident, we would like to tell you that what the Korean farmers did is civil disobedience rather than the so-called “violence” or “riot” portrayed by the media and Hong Kong government. But the Hong Kong police responded to their action with tear gas, plastic bullets, pepper spray and batons. After they were arrested, the Hong Kong police keep violating the farmers’ basic human rights.
More than 900 farmers (most of them were peaceful demonstrators) were detained in the open arena in freezing air without food, water and toilet for more than 20 hours; the arrest was discriminatory as Hong Kong citizens were allowed to leave the detained area even though they had committed the same announced crime of “illegal gathering”. The Korean farmers were forced to sign police documents in foreign language without translators and lawyers. The Hong Kong police even refused the bail arrangement for the Korean farmers even though illegal gathering is considered as a very minor crime in Hong Kong. (Although the police has just release most of the farmers to avoid further protest from local supporters.)
The whole incident not only is a violation of the Korean farmers’ human rights, it also opens up a case for the Hong Kong police force to act against human rights of demonstrators by creating an emergency situation. For the sake of Korean farmers struggle, and for the sake of future democratic movement in Hong Kong, we plead for international solidarity.
Hong Kong non-government organizations are mobilizing people to show support to the farmers and some Taiwanese workers will come to Hong Kong to protest against the violence of police. We call upon you to show support to your fellow citizens in Korea or even come to Hong Kong to join our action.
For your references, please read our statement signed by Hong Kong people (initiated by a group of local scholars) to oppose Hong Kong government and police.
A group of Hong Kong citizens
Signature campaign at: http://www.petitiononline.com/nowto/petition.html