An education foundation affiliated with the defunct pro-democracy labour group, the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), has announced that it will disband following a members’ vote, citing political risk.

According to a statement released on Thursday, the CTU Education Foundation Limited had stopped handling operations matters and auditing, and hired professionals to facilitate the legal procedures of deregistering the business. As of Friday, it was still listed in the Companies Registry.

HKCTU Education Foundation. Photo: HKCTUEF website, via screenshot.

Cheng Ching-fat, chairperson of the foundation, told HKFP that a special members’ meeting was held at the end of April during which the vote to disband was held. He said that they had agreed to make the announcement at “a more suitable time.”

“We all evaluated the political risk, and thought that the situation was bad, and we needed to deregister [the company],” said Cheng.

The foundation provided vocational training courses and job pairing, as well as mutual aid services for unemployed people including teens, women, those new to Hong Kong, and the elderly. It also offered support to those who changed career paths.

The chairperson said that the decision would not affect students who were taking vocational training courses with the company, as most classes were completed before the decision was made.

HKCTU disbanded last year

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, the city’s largest pro-democracy union coalition, announced its decision to disband last September.

Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions was one of many civil society groups that disbanded in 2021. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Then-chairperson of the confederation Joe Wong said at the time that members of the group had received messages that made them feel they could face threats to their physical safety if they continue operations.

In March this year, four ex-leaders of the confederation were brought in for questioning by the national security police after allegedly failing to supply information about its past activities.

Many of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy groups, including protest coalition the Civil Human Rights Front and organiser of the city’s annual Tiananmen vigils, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, disbanded following the implementation of national security law.

The Beijing-imposed legislation criminalised subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts, which were broadly defined to include disruption to transport and other infrastructure.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.