July 9, 2008

Hong Kong Anti-Globalization Activists Speak Out on China at G8 Summit

Text of report by Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post website on 9 July

[Report by Ng Tze-Wei: "HK Activists Speak Out on China"]

Hong Kong protesters among the thousands of activists in Sapporo to oppose the G8 summit say they want to tell the other side of China's development story.

"Globalisation is also causing problems for China, for example, in relation to food security," said Au Loong-yu of Globalisation Monitor, a group that was actively involved in the anti-World Trade Organization protests in Hong Kong in 2005.

Among the events held by NGOs over the weekend was a forum hosted by Globalisation Monitor to try to draw attention to the price being paid by labourers as China tries to sustain an average 10 per cent gross domestic product growth.

Mr Au said the issue of food supply, another hot topic at this year's summit, was of particular importance in China. He said that as more food trading companies were privatised, the country's food supply was becoming more vulnerable to control by foreign companies.

As Chinese NGOs are few and far between at such events, Hong Kong participants often had to take up mainland issues, Mr Au said.

"There are now more civil activities in the realm of environmental protection. Even if they participate in international protests, they keep a very low profile," he said. "But these issues are also relevant to Hong Kong. The rise in food prices is a pinch every working man in Hong Kong can feel."

Forums were also held on women workers' rights. Wu Mei-lin, coordinator for the Hong Kong Women Workers' Association, was the only representative from Hong Kong.

"Free-trade agreements lead to an increase in migrant workers, who often fall outside the protection of legal rights," Ms Wu said. "Women often suffer the most in poverty."

Originally published by South China Morning Post website, Hong Kong, in English 9 Jul 08.

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