Beginning the hunger strike for solidarity and : our struggle against the WTO is not over

While most of farmers that joined the action againts WTO have return home to see their family and working on their farm, some 12 protestors (11 korean and 1 japanese) are still in Hong Kong. They are arressted and detained by Hong Kong police and bring to court. They now have been released on bail and stay in Hong Kong to face the next hearing court on 11 of January. Since they only want to struggle againts WTO, here is their statement when they starting another action by hunger strike  to be free from any charge.

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