Updated: Jul 31
STATEMENT: CFHK Foundation Welcomes Congressman Gallagher’s Inquiry into AmCham Hong Kong Propaganda Participation. UK Government Should Do the Same for BritCham in Hong Kong
24 February 2023 – The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation welcomes the letter sent by Congressman Mike Gallagher, Chairman of the US Select Committee on China, to the head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham). Congressman Gallagher rightly condemns US participation in any propaganda actions undertaken by the Hong Kong Authorities.
AmCham Chairman, Geoffrey Siebengartner, played a role in Hong Kong’s HK$1bn global promotional campaign “Hello Hong Kong” which also features appearances by the chairs of chamber of U.K., Australia, America, Singapore, Japan, India and France. They all willing participated in a propaganda video highlighting the benefits of starting businesses in Hong Kong including dining and entertainment opportunities at a time when freedoms in the city are at an all time low due to a Chinese led crackdown on civil society, media freedom and legal independence.
Astonishingly, Anne Kerr, chair of the British Chamber, chose to say that Hong Kong has a “sound legal system.” This just a day before the trial of 47 Hong Kongers on national security charges. And while British citizen Jimmy Lai remains in prison in Hong Kong.
In his letter to US Representative Mike Gallagher singled out the phrase as something that runs counter to the official US position on 2020 National Security Law which led to a crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations. Congressman Gallagher asked that the American Chamber to clarify its position on the national security law by answering six questions, including whether the chamber believes that the national security law is consistent with the “rule of law.” He requested responses by Feb. 27.
We believe that similar questions should be put to Anne Kerr by the British Government and the British Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee.
Mark Sabah, CFHK Foundation Director UK & EU said:
"It’s quite unbelievable that Anne Kerr, the Chair of BritCham should willingly and happily play a role in Hong Kong and China propaganda. All while British citizen Jimmy Lai sits in a Hong Kong prison. To use the Soviet era phrase, she has become a “useful idiot”. She should be protesting the Hong Kong crackdown on rule of law and civil liberties, and advising other British businesses of the risks involved, not smiling on camera. We fully expect the British Government to follow the US example and demand an explanation for her behaviour.”