Hong Kong: Freedom of expression under attack as scores of peaceful protesters face “chilling” prosecutions

Amnesty International
(Originally published 26 September, 2017)

The Hong Kong government must drop prosecutions aimed at having a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the city, Amnesty International said ahead of the third anniversary of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.

Three years on from the start of the unprecedented 79-day protest in late 2014, scores of protesters, who were arrested for their involvement in the largely peaceful protests, remain in legal limbo, uncertain if they will face charges.

“Three years since the Umbrella Movement protests, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over Hong Kong. The government’s stance is having a chilling effect on peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.

Continue reading “Hong Kong: Freedom of expression under attack as scores of peaceful protesters face “chilling” prosecutions”

Justice figure defends jailings

The Standard
September 20, 2017

Hong Kong’s retired chief prosecutor defended the push by the secretary for justice to lock up 16 activists who previously escaped jail sentences as there was “no choice” otherwise.

Former director of public prosecutions Ian Grenville Cross, SC, however agreed the Secretary for Justice, Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, as a politically appointed official, should in future consider assigning the prosecution power to the director of public prosecutions instead, as he was independently appointed.

“The case cried out for a review,” Cross, 66, said Continue reading “Justice figure defends jailings”

China’s Rights Crackdown Is Called ‘Most Severe’ Since Tiananmen Square

New York Times
September 5, 2017

GENEVA — China is systematically undermining international human rights groups in a bid to silence critics of its crackdown on such rights at home, a watchdog organization said on Tuesday. The group also faulted the United Nations for failing to prevent the effort, and at times being complicit in it.

“China’s crackdown on human rights activists is the most severe since the Tiananmen Square democracy movement 25 years ago,” Kenneth Roth, the director of the agency, Human Rights Watch, said in Geneva on Tuesday at the introduction of a report that he described as an international “wake-up call.” “What’s less Continue reading “China’s Rights Crackdown Is Called ‘Most Severe’ Since Tiananmen Square”

Ousted lawmakers Lau Siu-lai and ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung to lodge appeal over disqualifications

HKFP
September 8, 2017

Former lawmakers Lau Siu-lai and “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung have decided to file appeals against their disqualifications from the legislature.

“I have asked for legal advice, I believe there is room [for argument] in appealing,”said Lau. “But of course there is risk.”

Two other recently disqualified lawmakers, including Edward Yiu and Nathan Law, had previously noted that the cost for appeal could be too high for them to bear.

Accountancy sector lawmaker Kenneth Leung said the existing pro-democracy camp lawmakers will share the burden of the HK$1.6 million in legal fees: “I am grateful our camp showed great unity in support of us,” said Lau. Continue reading “Ousted lawmakers Lau Siu-lai and ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung to lodge appeal over disqualifications”

Hong Kong’s rapid descent into repression

Washington Post, Editorial
August 19, 2017

IN 2014, as Hong Kong erupted into protests calling for free elections, Joshua Wong emerged as the face of the city’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. Just 17 years old at the time, he led demonstrators as they marched on a fenced government square and organized weeks of sit-ins thereafter. In the years since, he has continued to champion democratic reform, establishing a student-led political party that won a seat on the legislative council. Apparently, this was more than Beijing and the pro-China local government could bear: On Thursday, Mr. Wong and two other activists, Alex Chow and Nathan Law, were sentenced to six to eight months in prison for their role in the peaceful protests. Continue reading “Hong Kong’s rapid descent into repression”

Pro-Beijing politicians threaten to kill HK independence supporters

China worker
September 20, 2017

Government steps up political repression • University campuses the new battleground
Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong)

Hong Kong’s pro-government camp is stepping up its vicious campaign of repression against the pro-democracy camp, especially singling out supporters of independence. Support for independence has become increasingly popular among young people as the Chinese dictatorship’s repression intensifies and spills into Hong Kong. A June opinion poll showed 21.9 percent of those aged 25-39 support Hong Kong independence, a slight dip from 23.9 percent in 2016. But clearly, the ferocious campaign by the establishment and mainstream media to demonise independence has only had a very limited effect.
Continue reading “Pro-Beijing politicians threaten to kill HK independence supporters”