THE COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM IN HONG KONG FOUNDATION
The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation) was set up to fight for Hong Kong and its people as China continues its massive crackdown on the city. Despite legal obligations and treaties and repeated promises that Hong Kong would continue to enjoy its existing freedoms, China has since the 1997 handover from the United Kingdom destroyed Hong Kong’s free media, freedom of speech, free assembly, education, and many other aspects of the democratic way of life that had become the norm in Hong Kong. The Beijing-imposed National Security Law, which was introduced to Hong Kong in 2020, has been used to stifle any protests, demonstrations, critical journalism or other opposition to the Hong Kong authorities and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Thousands of people have been arrested under the NSL, many for the flimsiest of reasons. The legal system is being bent for political purposes. The CFHK Foundation defends political prisoners, free media and Hong Kong people’s right to live peacefully under the terms of the Basic Law which was put into effect by China in 1997. Hong Kong’s fate is linked to the preservation of freedom, democracy, and international law in the region and around the world.
Defend political prisoners held in Hong Kong and seek to have them released
Press for political and economic consequences for China’s failure to keep its promises regarding Hong Kong’s freedoms
Support the rule of law, free media and freedom of expression
Urge the business community to stand against China’s assault on freedom, which also imperils Hong Kong’s status as an international centre
Hong Kong is on the frontline of China’s assault on freedom in the region and the world. In 1997, when Hong Kong was returned to mainland communist rule, Hong Kong’s people were promised the freedom to run their city. Instead, the world is watching as the CCP destroys a free society. Hong Kong is on the front lines of one of the great challenges of our time, the contest between a free people and a repressive regime.
China promised to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy, rights and freedoms, and the rule of law, in a 1984 treaty signed with the United Kingdom, and later, to allow the expansion of democracy. After steadily encroaching on Hong Kong’s autonomy over the past two decades, in June 2020 China imposed a harsh National Security Law on Hong Kong and now exercises virtual direct rule. Under the new law, the Party can label almost anything it wants as “subversion,” “separatism,” “terrorism,” or “foreign collusion.” Hong Kong’s jails now hold dozens of political prisoners. New police and legal units devoted to prosecutions under the oppressive legislation are undermining Hong Kong’s revered judicial system. In May 2022, Hong Kong “elected” CCP loyalist and national security enthusiast John Lee as its chief executive with 99 percent of the small group of “patriotic” electors supporting him. Lee’s appointment threatens further harsh measures.
A DIRE SITUATION
China is targeting the people of Hong Kong for their determination, since the 1980s, to achieve full democracy which protects the rule of law. Hong Kong’s people have regularly voted by strong majorities for pro-democracy parties and politicians in the legislature, but the system designed by China condemns pro-democracy legislators to a minority. In 2014, peaceful student-led protests pressured China to fulfil its promise to allow the democratic election of the city’s chief executive and Legislative Council. In 2019, more than one-quarter of the city’s 7.5 million people marched peacefully in favor of democracy, police accountability and against a law that would extradite Hong Kong defendants to China for prosecution in mainland courts.
Hong Kong’s free press, judiciary, independent political parties, and free trade unions made the city so successful that the government proclaimed it “Asia’s World City.” Rather than continue to allow the freedoms that made Hong Kong a thriving entrepôt benefitting its people and the world, Chinese communist leaders are remaking it to serve the Party’s objectives.
China’s broken promises to Hong Kong are just one example of the CCP’s disregard for its commitments and international law. After Deng Xiaoping began an economic opening in 1979, Hong Kong’s rule of law and financial services were vital to China’s development. Having built up its economy and military, China is asserting itself globally and advancing anti-democratic norms around the world. The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong’s aim is to keep a spotlight on the CCP’s abuses in the territory and to hold those responsible to account.