Joint Letter to President Biden on Jimmy LaiComments Off on Joint Letter to President Biden on Jimmy Lai
President Joseph Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
We, the undersigned international human rights groups, urge you to take immediate actions in response to the case of independent publisher Jimmy Lai, who will have been in prison in Hong Kong for 1,000 days on September 26, 2023.
Lai was wrongfully detained on December 31, 2020, on charges under the Beijing-imposed National Security Law (NSL). In addition to his current jail sentence for spurious fraud charges, Lai served a 20-month prison sentence for peacefully protesting in 2019 and 2020. After multiple delays to the start of his NSL trial, Lai’s trial is now due to begin on December 18.
Jimmy Lai is a 75-year-old husband, father, and entrepreneur who founded Apple Daily, a Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper forcibly shut by the Hong Kong government in 2021 after 500 police officers raided its offices and froze its bank accounts for supporting protests calling for greater democracy in the city and for condemning the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As the leader of the free world, we implore you to defend the democratic way of life and press freedom in Hong Kong by urging the Hong Kong government to immediately and unconditionally release Jimmy Lai.
Since Beijing imposed the NSL in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020, it has been broadly and arbitrarily applied in arresting 264 individuals for national security crimes, including Jimmy Lai. In court cases to date, the government boasts a 100% conviction rate. The wide scope of NSL-related targeting of academics, media outlets, and civil society organizations has negatively affected millions of Hong Kongers, and the UN Human Rights Committee has recommended that the government take “concrete steps” to repeal the NSL and “in the meantime, refrain from applying it.”
To mark Jimmy Lai’s 1,000th day in prison, we urge you to call for the immediate and unconditional release for Jimmy Lai and all the political prisoners in Hong Kong, both publicly and directly in diplomatic engagements with your Chinese counterparts. It is vital that you advocate for their fair treatment and release.
We are calling on you to take the following three actions:
1) The U.S. government must hold Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee as well as Hong Kong and Chinese officials to account for the unjust imprisonment of Jimmy Lai and other political prisoners in Hong Kong.
2) The U.S. must ensure that the U.S.-sanctioned John Lee and other Hong Kong officials are not invited to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco this November.
3) Finally, the U.S. should leverage its sanction authorities under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, Hong Kong Autonomy Act, and Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to issue sanctions against the Hong Kong and Chinese officials responsible for deteriorating conditions in Hong Kong. This includes the judges and prosecutors who have abused Hong Kong’s legal system to undermine the city’s freedoms.
It is time for the United States to stand up to Beijing for violating the “one country, two systems” agreement, the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, and the very values we hold dear. China should not be allowed to unilaterally tear up an international agreement with no repercussions. It is essential for the U.S. to broaden multilateral cooperation among our allies on Hong Kong, including the United Kingdom, European Union, Japan, and Australia. The Chinese government must not have the final say.
We urge you to speak up against the unjust imprisonment of Jimmy Lai in Hong Kong to safeguard freedom from further destruction by the CCP. We are confident that your actions will make a significant impact for Jimmy Lai, other political prisoners, and the preservation of freedom in Hong Kong.
Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation, on behalf of a coalition of 67 organizations.
Names of organizations in alphabetical order:
1. ARTICLE 19
2. Aus-Hong Kong Connex
3. Bay Area Friends of Tibet
4. Birmingham HongKongers
5. Blasian March
6. Bonham Tree Aid
7. Bristol Hongkongers
8. Campaign For Uyghurs
9. Cardiff Hongkonger group
10. China Against the Death Penalty
11. Chinese Human Rights Defenders
12. Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation
13. Committee to Protect Journalists
14. EXE.HKers Action
15. Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.
16. Filipino American Human Rights Alliance
17. Finnish Hongkongers
18. France Tibet
19. Freiheit für Hongkong e.V.
20. Germany Stands with Hong Kong
21. Grupo de Apoio so Tibete – Portugal
23. Hong Kong Affairs Association of Berkeley
24. Hong Kong Aid
25. Hong Kong Community Focus CIC
26. Hong Kong Democracy Council
27. Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles
28. Hong Kong Professional Network
29. Hong Kong Social Action Movements in Boston
30. Hong Kong Watch
31. Hong Kongers in San Diego
32. Hong Kongers in San Francisco Bay
33. Hongkonger in Brighton CIC
34. Hongkongers in Britain
35. HongKongers in Leeds
36. Human Rights in China
37. Humanitarian China
38. Institute For China’s Democratic Transition
39. International Tibet Network
40. Lamp of Liberty
41. McMaster Stands With Hong Kong
42. North East Hongkongers Club (UK)
43. Northern California Hong Kong Club
44. NY4HK – New Yorkers Supporting Hong Kong
46. Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights
47. Re-Water CIC
48. Reading UK Stands with Hong Kong
49. Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
50. Salford HongKongers
51. Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet
52. Scottish Hongkongers
53. SEArious for HKG
54. Southampton HongKongers
55. Students For Hong Kong (Students4HK)
56. Sutton Hong Kong Culture & Arts Society
57. Swedish Tibet Committee
58. The Hong Kong Scots
59. The Norwegian Tibet Committee
60. The Tibet Support Committee, Denmark
61. Tibet Action Institute
62. TX4HK – Texans Supporting Hong Kong
63. US HongKongers Club
64. Uyghur Human Rights Project Area
65. Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
66. Visual Artists Guild
67. We The Hongkongers
Hon. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Congressional-Executive Commission on China
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
For further inquiry or follow-up, please contact Frances Hui of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation via email email@example.com.