The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) commends the 26 European Union and national parliamentarians who today pressed EU leaders to urgently adopt a so-called “lifeboat scheme” for Hong Kong citizens in the wake of intensifying repression in their home city. In a letter to EU leaders, the members of parliaments, led by Engin Eroglu, a German Member of the European Parliament, expressed disappointment with inaction on a range of measures that would provide Hong Kongers with “a pathway to study and work in the EU.” The letter, which was coordinated by Hong Kong Watch, can be found here.
Ellen Bork, President of CFHK said:
“CFHK applauds the European parliamentarians for their staunch support for Hong Kong’s people. They set an example all democratically elected representatives should emulate.”
Ellen Bork commented further:
“This action by European parliamentarians makes clear that China will face ongoing, dedicated opposition to the harsh national security law and its assault on Hong Kong’s freedoms and rule of law. However, CFHK is disturbed that one EU member state is apparently thwarting EU unity on this vital, humanitarian effort.”
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Dear Friends of Hong Kong,
Last Friday, May 14, the Hong Kong government froze USD $64 million in media company shares and other assets that belong to jailed Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai. Lai received the news in prison, where he is serving sentences related to peaceful protests while simultaneously facing three national security charges.
The seizure of Lai’s property without any conviction or due process has struck nerves in Hong Kong and around the world. CFHK’s statement called the government’s action “a dangerous sign of things to come,” and rejected Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s claim that the action “reinforces” Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center.
Read CFHK statement here.
CFHK IN THE NEWS
Ellen Bork, president of CFHK, writes in The Bulwark about Jimmy Lai, what Hong Kong has meant to him, and how the Chinese Communist Party’s move against him is destroying everything that makes the city an appealing international financial center. She wrote:
Statement on the Freeze of Jailed Apple Daily Founder Jimmy Lai’s Assets and the Blow to Hong Kong’s Status as an International Financial Center
The Hong Kong government’s May 14 freeze of US$ 64 million in media company shares and other assets belonging to jailed Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai represents an extraordinary escalation in the use of the mainland-imposed national security law to crush Hong Kong’s democracy movement and free press.
The rule of law is an essential ingredient of Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center. On Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam absurdly defended the asset seizure by claiming it “reinforces” Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The seizure of Lai’s assets by administrative fiat, without due process, will further alarm local and foreign businesses already concerned by the imposition of a national security law so broad as to allow virtually anything to be criminalized that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wishes. The Hong Kong government order, seizing private property without demonstrating any connection to criminal activity, is a dangerous sign of things to come. The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong has already reported that more than 40% of its members are considering leaving the city, with the imposition of the national security law by Beijing the most-cited concern.
With this development, Hong Kong has taken a step further toward losing its unique position in China as a center for international business and finance. The rule of law, an independent judiciary, the right to private property, and the free flow of information are essential to a prosperous business environment and cannot be replicated on the mainland. They are under attack now in Hong Kong.