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British Parliament Releases Hard-Hitting Report on Hong Kong’s Media Freedoms and Jimmy Lai

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

24 April 2023 – Today in the British Parliament, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hong Kong released a report on Hong Kong’s media freedoms and the case of Jimmy Lai. The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation’s President, Mark Clifford, contributed testimony to the report about Jimmy Lai, the closure of Apple Daily, and the crushing of media freedoms in Hong Kong. The CFHK Foundation also submitted written evidence.

The report launch was led by Co-Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong Baroness Natalie Bennett, Vice Chair Lord David Alton, Vice Chair Bob Seely MP, and Vice Chair Tom Randall MP. The session was also attended by Baroness Helena Kennedy, Holly Lynch MP, and Iain Duncan Smith MP, who personally delivered the report to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak immediately following the event.

The other speakers included Sebastien Lai, Jimmy Lai’s son; Caoilfhionn Gallagher, KC, Jimmy Lai’s lead international lawyer; Benedict Rogers, co-founder and Chief Executive of Hong Kong Watch; and Fiona O’Brien, UK Director for Reporters Without Borders.

Every speaker highlighted the report’s recommendations, most importantly how the British government should make the case of British citizen and political prisoner Jimmy Lai a priority. The report also called for the UK government to implement targeted sanctions against Hong Kong authorities who are assaulting media freedom and urged businesses to assess whether they are complicit in Hong Kong’s human rights violations.

Sebastien Lai, Jimmy Lai’s son, said:

“We just met with British Minister for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan and are waiting for meetings with British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. By the UK government not standing up for Hong Kong and these freedoms and my father, they are accepting all the bad things happening in Hong Kong without defending the values that are important to the UK and Hong Kong.”

Mark Clifford, the CFHK Foundation’s President, said:

“The CFHK Foundation commends the APPG on Hong Kong’s report that details some of the many horrors that have been caused by Hong Kong’s draconian National Security Law. The ease and brutality with which the authorities destroyed Jimmy Lai’s publicly listed company should cause everyone concern about the Rule of Law in Hong Kong. The British government should heed the report’s recommendations, particularly to secure the release of British citizen Jimmy Lai. Lai’s more than two years in jail have earned him the unwanted distinction of China’s best-known political prisoner. It is time for the British government to work harder to end Lai’s captivity, and to reunite this 75-year-old man of peace with his family.”

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