Persecution of the Hong Kong Alliance makes a mockery of NSL promisesComments Off on Persecution of the Hong Kong Alliance makes a mockery of NSL promises
(Chinese Human Rights Defenders, September 9, 2021) CHRD condemns the ongoing persecution against the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement of China (“the Hong Kong Alliance”), and in particular, the arrest on Thursday of chairman Lee Cheuk-yan, vice-chairs Chow Hang-tung and Albert Ho on the charge of “inciting subversion”, which could carry a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
The three are scheduled to appear at court in West Kowloon at 9:30am on Friday.
Their arrest stems from the Hong Kong Alliance’s decision not to cooperate with a police request made on August 25 to provide detailed information related to their interaction or material support from several foreign groups and unspecified “foreign or Taiwan political parties and other groups with a political purpose, including at their Hong Kong branches” dating back to 2014. The police charged them under Article 43(5) of the National Security Law (NSL), alleging that the Hong Kong Alliance and its members were “foreign agents”.
Committee member Tsui Hon-kwong was also arrested on Thursday, and on Wednesday, Hong Kong Alliance committee members Simon Leung, Tang Ngok-kwan and Chan To-wai were also arrested due to their non-compliance.
On Thursday, the Hong Kong police also shut down the Tiananmen Massacre Museum, which was run by the Hong Kong Alliance. Police dismantled the displays and hauled away historic photos and exhibits about the Tiananmen Massacre.
“The Hong Kong Alliance had always upheld the vision for a China that was ruled democratically, where the rule of law mattered, and where human rights were genuinely respected. The Central Government and their local allies are simply using the National Security Law to crush that democratic vision and ensure that there is no significant opposition to the increasingly dictatorial rule of Xi Jinping as head of the Chinese Communist Party”, said William Nee, CHRD’s Research and Advocacy Coordinator.
“Despite the fact that Article 39 of the NSL is clear that the law can only be applied to acts committed after it came into effect, and despite the fact that Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam told the UN that the NSL would not be used retroactively, the police are now on a retroactive fishing expedition looking for anything going back to 2014. This makes a complete mockery out of Carrie Lam’s promises and shows that the procedural safeguards supposedly built into the NSL aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. The Hong Kong Alliance is courageous for refusing to comply with requests that are so blatantly against international and Hong Kong law,” Nee added.
“If the the claims that provisions under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights will be respected in Hong Kong under the NSL are to be taken seriously, then the international community must take actions to ensure that all members of the Hong Kong Alliance are immediately and unconditionally released”.
Every year since 1989, the Hong Kong Alliance has organized an annual Tiananmen Vigil in Hong Kong, to commemorate the hundreds, if not thousands, killed by the People’s Liberation Army in Beijing and other cities in 1989. The vigil was usually attended by which 100,000 to 200,000 people and served as a focal point of Hong Kong’s civil society.
In recent days, several state-run media reports made detailed allegations against the Hong Kong Alliance. And Xinhua, the official outlet of the Central Government, carried a statement by the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region that supported the Hong Kong police’s actions against what it deemed an “anti-China” organization.
William Nee, Coordinator for Research & Advocacy (Mandarin, English), +1 623 295 9604, william [at] nchrd.org
Ramona Li, Senior Researcher and Advocate (Mandarin, English), +1 202 556 0667, ramonali [at] nchrd.org
Renee Xia, Director (Mandarin, English), +1 863 866 1012, reneexia[at]nchrd.org, @reneexiachrd