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CFHK Foundation and Jeremy Balfour MSP host event for Hong Kongers in the Scottish Parliament

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

NEWSLETTER: CFHK Foundation and Jeremy Balfour MSP host first-ever event for Hong Kongers in the Scottish Parliament The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation) President Mark Clifford has spent the last week meeting parliamentarians, political advisors and media in London and Edinburgh. The various meetings covered the role that both governments must play in protecting and defending Hong Kongers who have settled in the UK. In Edinburgh, there was a real focus on the reliance of Scottish universities on Chinese money and ensuring that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) aren’t able to further infiltrate Scottish society. In London, a lack of a UK Government China strategy dominated most of the political meetings, as well as British citizen Jimmy Lai’s upcoming National Security trial in Hong Kong. The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation) and Jeremy Balfour MSP hosted the first-ever event for Hong Kongers in the Scottish Parliament. The event was attended by over 50 Hong Kongers who travelled to Holyrood from all over Scotland to tell elected officials about the issues they have faced since settling in Scotland. CFHK Foundation and Jeremy Balfour MSP will be organizing additional events where Hong Kongers in Scotland can come and speak to MSPs at the Scottish Parliament. Events like this will ensure support for Hong Kongers in Scotland is strengthened and provide them with a safe space to voice any concerns they may have. CFHK Foundation President, Mark Clifford, said: “It was great to see some 50 Hong Kongers in attendance and we are grateful to the cross-party MSPs who came to listen to both their experiences and concerns.” Hong Kong The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong has called on the UK Government to financially sanction Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, ex-chief executive Carrie Lam and other senior officials for “serious human rights abuses and systematic breaches of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.” City A.M reported that a report by Stand Hong Kong which outlined alleged police brutality and detention of political protesters led to the call for those responsible to be sanctioned. CFHK Foundation President Mark Clifford and L. Gordon Crovitz wrote in the Wall Street Journal this week that business is far from usual in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s government would have the world believe that the financial hub is back to normal as it reopens for international business. The reality is that the National Security Law has allowed the CCP to destroy Hong Kong’s once-vaunted rule of law. Hong Kong migrants who participated in pro-democracy protests in their home city are repeatedly turning down jobs in the UK as they cannot provide background checks from the Hong Kong police. The Japan Times reported that requests for police documents are creating barriers to jobs in education, health and other sectors where employers demand stricter background checks. The 2019 protest song ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ was played at the rugby sevens tournament in South Korea instead of the Chinese national anthem, sparking anger in official circles. The Hong Kong Government has stated it “strongly deplores and opposes” the playing of the song and has called for the Hong Kong Rugby Union to “deal with the matter seriously, launch a full and in-depth investigation and submit a detailed report,” reported The Guardian. Jimmy Lai The Committee to Protect Journalists and the CFHK Foundation, along with 21 other NGOs, have written a letter to Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee calling on him to release Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai ahead of his National Security Law trial. On 1st December, Lai will stand trial without a jury on charges under the National Security Law. He has been behind bars for almost 700 days as he awaits trial. Hong Kong’s Department of Justice (DoJ) hopes to appeal to the Court of Final Appeal against allowing a UK barrister Timothy Owen to represent pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai in his National Security Law trial, reported the Hong Kong Free Press. Last week, a panel of three judges supported an earlier ruling that there was a “clear case” for allowing Owen to represent Lai. China UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has adopted a softer stance on China, calling it a “systematic challenge” rather than a “threat.” Speaking at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, Sunak defended his new approach and stated it was in line with most of the UK’s allies, calling China an “indisputable fact of the global economy,” reported The Guardian. MI5 Director General Ken McCallum delivered his annual threat update. McCallum stated that “we’re seeing an increasingly assertive China using overt and covert pressure to bend other countries to its will.” Further, he said that MI5 is aware of Chinese authorities playing the long game in cultivating contacts to manipulate opinion in China’s favor, not just Parliamentarians but also people much earlier in their careers. McCullum stated, “they’re trying to re-write the rulebook, to buy the league, to recruit our coaching staff to work for them.” ​ The U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission released its annual report. The report includes several pertinent recommendations relevant to Hong Kong, including “Congress amending the International Organisations Immunities Act to remove Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices as a covered organisation, thereby eliminating diplomatic privileges enjoyed by the offices and their employees in the US.”

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