A major pro-democracy group, the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, decided to disband on Sunday, the third one in less than two weeks as China continues eliminating dissent in the territory.
Representatives of the territory's biggest opposition trade union told a press conference that its members had voted in favor of dissolution, putting the decision down to political pressure, local broadcaster RTHK reported.
With the latest development, Hong Kong's major pro-democracy groups have been almost wiped out.
On Sept. 25, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, known for its yearly vigil commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, voted to disband after its leaders were arrested under the national security law, which criminalizes acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
That came a day after another pro-democracy group, Student Politicism, announced its disbandment after four members were charged with conspiracy to incite subversion.
The Civil Human Rights Front and the Professional Teachers' Union have also disbanded.
The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, which was founded in 1990, said on its website that it had represented more than 93 affiliates and 145,000 members from a variety of sectors.
Its leaders' mobilization of members to participate in anti-government demonstrations in 2019 and advocacy of general strikes was regarded as problematic, with pro-Beijing media suggesting they may have violated the national security law by receiving funds, colluding with external forces and manipulating the trade union to carry out "anti-China activities" in Hong Kong.
According to RTHK, the confederation's leaders claimed to have been left "terrified" after receiving messages warning them their personal safety could be at risk if the group was not dissolved, while its chief executive Mung Siu Tat announced he had resigned and fled Hong Kong over such concerns.
In January, after the group's chairwoman Carol Ng was arrested for subversion under the national security law, the group had vowed in a statement to "never give up" in the face of political persecution and to "struggle till our last breath."