In December 2011, after a meeting of 131 activists, a new party was formed in Hong Kong, China.
Activists in several trade unions have been part of the new initiative. Eleven of the 20-strong committee are connected to the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions. Lee Cheuk-yan was elected chairman unopposed and was one of the prime motivators of the new party. Lee Cheuk-yan is currently an elected member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong and is currently General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions. Since its foundation it now has three elected members of the legislative council within Hong Kong, although none of the representatives have contested the election as Labour Party candidates.
Adopting the language of the Occupy movement Lee Cheuk-yan has stated that the party is their to unite the “99%”
“We will mobilize power outside the Legislative Council. The government has to bow to the people’s power if we are united. So we need the power of the masses, instead of any particular party.”
“The working class, the underprivileged, young people, women, small and medium enterprises — all are victims of the current system.”
The trade union federation is not affiliated to the party, formed in order to contest the 2012 legislative council elections.
Its political aims are targeted primarily at meeting the basic needs of the working class of Hong Kong, including a universal pension fund and standardising working hours, protection for part-time workers and legislated collective bargaining agreements.
It calls for the abolition of all legislation that has been passed based on Article 23 of Basic Law in Hong Kong. This law includes the clause that;
“The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government”.
The Central People’s Government is the Chinese Communist Party. Hong Kong has more political freedom than mainland China, but it is subservient to the CCP and the system known as “One Country, two systems.” Political organisations are barred from making international links outside of the territory.
Many of those involved are veterans of the student protests in Tiananmen Square, and a complete vindication of all those involved in the protests known as the “June Fourth Incident” in mainland China is a founding platform of the party.
They have also called a for “a pan–democratic” candidate to contest the chief executive election. The current chief executive who effectively governs Hong Kong, is the pro-Beijing Sir Donald Tsang elected unopposed in 2005.
The formation of the party is a positive step towards working class representation in Hong Kong. Like the struggle in Wukan village, which the Communist Party have already manipulated to ensure their preferred candidates win the election, it may open up possibilities for worker and democracy activists in China.