19 July 2023 – The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation) submitted evidence to the United Nations (UN) Universal Periodic Review of China including Hong Kong that will be considered in the beginning of 2024. The CFHK Foundation’s submission underscores how the increasingly Beijing-controlled Hong Kong authorities have eroded the independence of the judiciary, the freedom of the press and religious freedom in Hong Kong since its previous review in 2018.
The Universal Periodic Review is a UN process in which the state of human rights in every state is examined by UN member states. The Universal Periodic Review for China (Hong Kong) happens once every five years.
Despite China’s vow to promote openness in the judicial system of Hong Kong after its review in 2018, the CFHK Foundation report details how the right to a fair trial and safeguards for access to justice in Hong Kong have declined since. Meanwhile, the harassment and persecution of lawyers as well as the use of pre-trial detention has increased. The CFHK Foundation recommends that the UN urge the Chinese government to ensure that all defendants have the right to trial by jury and unhindered access to their lawyer of choice, to stop attacks against human rights lawyers, and to eliminate pre-trial detention for low-risk offenders.
The CFHK Foundation’s report analyses the Hong Kong government’s eradication of the free press in Hong Kong and the closure of pro-democracy media outlets including Jimmy Lai’s Apple Daily. The submission also shows the deterioration of religious freedom in Hong Kong as the authorities repress religious individuals and raid religious institutions. The CFHK Foundation urges the UN to encourage China to reinstate an environment in which the press and religion can flourish without fear.
To protect the courts, press, and religion in Hong Kong, the CFHK Foundation calls on the UN to press Beijing to repeal the National Security Law in Hong Kong and immediately release innocent human rights activists and journalists including Jimmy Lai, Gwyneth Ho, Chow Hang-tung, Albert Ho and Lawrence Lau Wai-Chung.
Frances Hui, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for the CFHK Foundation, said:
“The CFHK Foundation’s submission to the United Nations for the Universal Periodic Review is an important step for Hong Kong and the greater Hong Kong diaspora as we work to inform the world about the on-the-ground reality in Hong Kong. It is key that the United Nations and all its member states take seriously how the Hong Kong government under the control of the Chinese Communist Party is destroying our beloved home and act to preserve the independence of the judiciary and civic freedoms in Hong Kong.”
Megan Khoo, Communications Manager for the CFHK Foundation, said:
“The CFHK Foundation welcomes the opportunity to provide evidence to the United Nations regarding the Hong Kong government’s egregious human rights violations in Hong Kong and towards Hong Kongers worldwide. The United Nations as well as Western governments should take responsibility to defend universal human rights. The British government should take immediate action to help release British citizen Jimmy Lai, who is a devout Catholic, husband, and father who has been behind bars for 930 days. We will continue to press for a Hong Kong that is free from the repression of the courts, press, religion and the bravest individuals.”