Temporary blog of the CWI

Hong Kong: Robbery at Socialist Action’s office

Urgent appeal for financial solidarity

chinaworker.info reporters

Socialist Action, the supporters of the CWI in Hong Kong, suffered a burglary at their Hong Kong office in the early hours of 17 October. Six computers, mobile phones, three credit cards and personal artifacts belonging to staff members were stolen. Totally over 20,000 Hong Kong dollars in cash and credit card theft was lost. Two SA comrades were asleep in the office while the robbery took place at 3am. The outcome could have been much worse if they had woken and disturbed the robbers.

The robbers gained access to the sixth floor office through a window, made possible by temporary construction scaffolding on the outside of the building. Precautions had been taken with metal bars added to all windows, along with security cameras at the door and inside, but these were either disabled by the thieves or were covering the doorway which was not used in the break-in. The thieves were able to get in by removing a bar on one window to a storeroom.

The break-in is a very hard blow for Socialist Action at a time of a historic four-and-a-half month old mass movement against the authoritarian regime. To say that the pressure on socialist activists is high at the moment would be an understatement. Hong Kong is at the mercy of a crazed rampage of police violence and repression, with daily tear gas attacks, savage beatings and over 2,500 arrests made since June. A de facto state of emergency has been imposed by the non-elected government of Carrie Lam, declaring protesters to be “rioters” and “terrorists”. Since August most demonstrations have been banned and are viciously attacked. Members of Socialist Action, in common with many other oppositional groups and parties, face a daily threat of repression and arrest as well as possible court prosecution for supporting “illegal assemblies” and other political charges. The government’s increasing use of British-era ‘emergency powers’ could soon lead to partial closure of the internet in Hong Kong, press censorship and banning of publications, more arrests and kangaroo courts.

The complicated nature of this struggle in a society with no mass organisations, no working class political parties, and a weak or very tentative trade union movement, up against the most powerful and hi-tech police dictatorship in the world has inevitably produced a mass movement with contradictory features. In the mass struggle there has been a peculiar combination of heroic mass resistance, inspiring spontaneity and direct action methods, side-by-side with a lack of a clear strategy, a lack of cohesive organisation and many confused ideas. An example of the latter is a certain pro-US shift in consciousness among a layer of the masses, seeking salvation from US politicians who are mostly grandstanding for American votes rather than offering sincere support for the democratic struggle. Ironically, the Chinese dictatorship is partly encouraging this pro-US shift, as a ‘vindication’ of its own ‘hostile foreign forces’ propaganda, and because it knows this to be a branch that will bear no fruit for the mass struggle.

Socialist Action – for a working class alternative

Socialist Action plays a unique role by consistently campaigning for the mass movement to shift direction, putting workers’ organisation and methods (such as strikes with democratic strike committees) in the foreground, opposing US and Chinese imperialism, and seeking to consciously spread the mass movement to mainland China. Socialist Action explains this can only be done by expanding the “five demands” to incorporate the needs of the working class and the youth (which apply with equal force in Hong Kong and China) for affordable housing, secure jobs, an end to slave conditions at work, and massive investment in public services rather than the obscenely wasteful white elephant infrastructure projects tailored to make more profits for the capitalist tycoons.

We are appealing for urgent financial solidarity from democracy activists, socialists, trade unionists everywhere. To recover the losses from this burglary and to upgrade office security Socialist Action needs to raise 70,000 Hong Kong dollars (around 8,000 euro / 8,900 US dollars). We need to do this as quickly as possible to avoid losing crucial time in the midst of the most important struggle we have ever faced. Without replacing the six computers we lost, we are not in a position to continue to produce the four editions of our bi-monthly magazine (Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan and English edition). Our day-to-day organisation risks significant disruption not only in Hong Kong but also the important solidarity work we are trying to develop – in underground conditions – in mainland China.

This burglary underlines the problems and pressures facing socialist activists in Hong Kong and China who stand for tireless activity in the anti-authoritarian struggle. Socialist Action is forced to rent property in a poor working class district with a higher crime rate. This is due to extremely high rental costs in Hong Kong, the most expensive in the world. We cannot claim insurance for the robbery because this would require a police report, allowing the police who are terrorising all opposition in Hong Kong to investigate our office and question our staff, endangering their personal security further. Therefore, we can only turn to our international co-thinkers, our comrades, supporters and well wishers in the workers’ and pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, China and around the world.

Here is the information needed to send us a donation. Every sum, small or large, will be a great help in enabling Socialist Action to quickly get back up to full speed.

Hong Kong: Make your donation to 124-175563-838 Socialist Action (HSBC) or call Jaco 6183 0714

Taiwan: Mark your donation “Hong Kong Socialist Action” and send via https://fund.socialism.org.tw/  or call Vincent 0922-756-937

Internationally, if you are a member of the CWI please discuss this at your local branch. Donations should be paid through the CWI’s membership structures and marked “Hong Kong Socialist Action”.

Alternatively you can make a donation directly via our Go Fund Me page