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116 Top News Editors Demand Release of Jimmy Lai While Hong Kong Denies His Choice of Lawyer

Committee News

The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation’s UK and EU Director, Mark Sabah, and Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, Frances Hui, participated in the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, where they met with ambassadors, politicians, human rights activists and journalists from around the world.

During the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, Frances Hui delivered a speech on her experience fleeing Hong Kong and working as an activist to free Hong Kong political prisoners. “We cannot accept the status quo. We must hold China accountable, and let Hong Kong be Hong Kong,” said Ms Hui.

Megan Khoo, Communications Manager for the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation, joined fellow Hong Kong, Uyghur and Tibetan human rights organisations at a United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) session, where the Chinese delegation rejected their evidence of human rights violations in China and Hong Kong. The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation, Hong Kong Watch, Freiheit fur Hongkong e.V and Hongkongers in Deutschland e.V. released a joint statement in response, calling for the CEDAW to “carefully consider the many testimonies of women in Hong Kong who have been systematically persecuted for exercising their rights under international law”.

Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation President Mark Clifford attended the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty Biennial Dinner in Washington, where Jimmy Lai was awarded the prestigious Milton Friedman Prize for furthering the cause of press freedom worldwide. Jimmy Lai’s son Sebastien Lai accepted the award on his father's behalf, saying, “My father is in prison for telling the truth.” At the same time as the awards ceremony, a Hong Kong court denied the legal bid from Jimmy Lai’s legal team to overturn the Committee for Safeguarding National Security’s (CSNS) decision to prevent British barrister Timothy Owen from defending British citizen Jimmy Lai.

Mark Clifford authored a piece for American Banker on how the Chinese government has forced banks like HSBC, Manulife, Invesco and Fidelity to deny 90,000 Hong Kong emigrants access to their hard-earned pensions. Mr Clifford wrote, “Banks have been behaving as if their operations in Hong Kong enjoy the same protections they operate under in London or New York. They do not; in fact, they have none.”

Mark Sabah spoke with British Thought Leaders about how the Chinese Communist Party has devastated the previous nature of Hong Kong. Pointing to the Hong Kong government's breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, Mr Sabah said, “In Hong Kong, we’ve heard nothing. The shocking thing is, we’ve heard nothing from 50 percent of the party to that agreement, which is the United Kingdom.”

Mark Sabah told BBC Northern Ireland that the British authorities “have done nothing” to shut down the Chinese Communist Party’s illegal, secret police stations throughout the UK.

This week’s blog is authored by Chloe Cheung, Founder of Hongkongers in Leeds and Director of Hong Kong Community Focus CIC, who attended the CEDAW meeting in Geneva with the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation. Reflecting on her experience, Ms Cheung said, “Despite [the Hong Kong government’s] attempts to discredit us, we stand firm in our commitment to shedding light on the human rights situation in Hong Kong.”

Next Wednesday, May 24th, the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation and Reporters Without Borders will host a panel discussion and reception in Westminster to complete a full month of activities for World Press Freedom Day. The panel will feature prominent leaders in the global movement for press freedom including Baroness Natalie Bennett; Fiona O’Brien, UK Bureau Director at Reporters Without Borders; Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC, Human Rights Lawyer at Doughty Street Chambers; Penny Sukhraj, Founder of Justice for Anton; and Stephen Vines, former journalist in Hong Kong. RSVP by emailing

Hong Kong

Reporters Without Borders led an international joint letter with 116 high-profile media leaders across 42 countries calling for the release of British citizen Jimmy Lai, who has been behind bars in Hong Kong for 869 days. Signatories included The New York Times, The Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, Daily Mail UK, The Independent and The Scotsman. The Hong Kong government referred to the campaign as “judicial interference”.

China sentenced 78-year-old John Shing-Wan Leung, who is a US citizen and holds Hong Kong residency, to life in prison for spying charges.

Almost four years after the 2019 protests in Hong Kong, a twenty-seven-year-old man has been charged with rioting, facing a maximum prison sentence of seven years.

Literature and documentaries on June 4th were removed from the shelves of public libraries in Hong Kong due to their purported violation of local laws. Read the latest set of books the Hong Kong authorities deemed threatening here.

The security chief of Hong Kong refused to declare whether commemorating the Tiananmen Square massacre is a violation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong ahead of June 4th which marks the anniversary of the killings.

The Hong Kong authorities rejected the 2022 report on religious freedom from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom which exposes the arrest of religious leaders and the demise of civil society in Hong Kong.

China continues to crack down on mainland advisory firms, which is stirring up fear among consultants and due diligence researchers in Hong Kong and preventing cross-border data transfer. Businesses should think twice before investing in the Chinese Communist Party-controlled China and Hong Kong.

UK-China Relations

Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss visited Taiwan, where she urged British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to take a tougher stance on China by classifying it as a “threat” and fulfilling his pledge to shut down the Chinese Communist Party’s Confucius Institutes that infiltrate British universities.

US-China Relations

Congressman Mike Gallagher visited London with 10 Members of Congress to press the British government to stand strong against China, “the greatest geopolitical threat of our lifetime”.

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