FORWARDED APPEAL (Hong Kong SAR): 12 charged WTO protesters on hunger strike 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding the statement issued by 12 of the charged WTO protestors, who have begun a hunger strike from 5 January 2006 for an indefinite period of time. They are among 14 protesters charged by the Hong Kong authorities for their demonstration against the WTO Ministerial on 17 December 2005.

Together with the statement, the AHRC also is attaching an urgent request of the International Campaign for the Immediate Release of WTO Political Prisoners.

Please write to Mr. Donald Tsang, the Chief Executive of Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong and urge him to unconditionally release the 14 detainees as soon as possible. Please also try to take action according to the requests mentioned below.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Beginning The Hunger Strike for Solidarity and Justice
—Our Struggle Against the WTO Is Not Over

We came to Hong Kong to protest against the 6th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization. We are peasants. We are living with land and nature. We are workers. We are facing hazardous conditions at the workplace full of iron dust.  We are homeless rights activists. We are working with and for the poor on the street. Amongst us, one suffers from asthma, another is claustrophobic, and still one has diabetes. A peasant had to leave his wife just after the birth of his first child to come to Hong Kong and is unfortunately missing the celebration of his son’s first hundred day celebration.

We want to live in a world where everyone is equal and justice prevails. We believe that regardless of whether one is rich or poor, they should have a right to decent education. We believe if one’s life is in jeopardy, then they have the right to access quality healthcare service. We are convinced that it should be people who control drinking water and natural resources as it has been generation by generation. Food and agriculture were not to be given to Transnational corporations seeking for profit, but to be protected for safe food for all.  However, neoliberalism-driven globalisation and the WTO system deprive us of our rights and beliefs.

We wanted to publicise that there is an alternative voice, alternative to the myth that ‘free trade’ and globalisation are the only hopes available to the people. We wanted to echo that our livelihood, lives, food and people’s rights are not a commodity. However, we don’t have an effective method to spread our voices. Instead, the only space given to us was the street. While discussions in the Convention Centre was reflecting only the  voices and concerns of business and government representatives, we spent our time on the streets of Hong Kong together with the people of Hong Kong as well as people from all over the world and we created a distinctive voice that questioned the myth imposed by WTO.

It was not only the voices of Korean peasants. It was the voices of the landless agri-workers, of the workers trying to protect public services, of the ecologists protesting against the destruction of the environment and the mother nature, of the indigenous community claming back the control over natural resources, and of migrant workers fighting for labour rights. It is also the voice of feminists protecting women’s rights and people in the Americas protesting against Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.

However, the WTO and the neo-liberal global system always try to conceal these voices of the people and the true face of WTO. Hong Kong’s ministerial was no exception. The WTO and the Hong Kong government attempted to hide the true face of neo-liberal globalisation and voices against it behind the police line. We tried to deliver our messages directly to the government delegates from all countries. In the attempt to go closer to the Convention Centre, we jumped into freezing cold water of Victoria harbour, and marched painfully but proudly to the Convention Centre by bowing every three steps. However, the WTO and Hong Kong Police continuously tried to conceal and control our actions, voices and rights to protest within the police line. Worse still, the Hong Kong government not only stopped our voice from being heard but also arrested and imprisoned more than a thousand people from all over the world and finally charged 14 workers and peasants.

From now on, we 12 WTO protestors arrested and charged by the Hong Kong authority will start an indefinite hunger strike. We want to continue our unfinished struggle against the WTO and struggle for a world filled with peace and justice. We want to make sure that the scream of the people from the world and protests by the Hong Kong 14 were legitimate. We would like to share our struggle with people of the world. In particular, we want to be hand in hand with the citizens of Hong Kong in this continuing struggle. We will overcome the crisis of humanity and people’s rights. And at the end of our struggle we will begin a new world of justice. We will stand firm at the centre of this historical march of the people.

We want to go back home. We are workers labouring in the factories and peasants farming with land and nature. At home, our family, friends, and colleagues are waiting for us to come back. The lunar New Year day is just around the corner. It is the biggest celebration of the year in many Asian countries, just as it is in Hong Kong. We want to be where we build our lives with our loved ones. We want to be with our family and friends on that day. We would like to celebrate our victory over the WTO on the lunar New Year, which will start a genuine new year for the people of the world.

Our struggle against the WTO is not over but to be won by the people of the world.

January 5, 2006
12 WTO Protestors Charged


5TH January 2006


International Campaign for the Immediate Release of WTO Political Prisoners

(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)

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 Political Prisoners.


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 and

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 and

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 and

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

Dear Friends,

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 violations.


To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Mr. Donald Tsang
Chief Executive
Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong
People's Republic of China

Via fax: 852-2509-0577 or Via e-mail

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 Organization's  Ministerial Conference site in Hong Kong.

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 "unlawful assembly" 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 "beanbags pellet" 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 be pursued.

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 14 activists.

We thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.


(list of signatories)

CC: Pascal Lamy
Fax: 41-22-731-42-06 or


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-001-2006
Countries :
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention,