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NEWSLETTER: US Congress Queries AmCham HK; Scottish Parliament Condemns Chinese Surveillance

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

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The Scottish Parliament held a debate on Chinese state surveillance this week. Jeremy Balfour MSP thanked the CFHK Foundation for our help gathering materials and setting up previous meetings with Hong Kongers in Scotland. Issues raised during the debate included the Chinese surveillance balloon in the United States, TikTok, Hikvision cameras and the illegal Chinese police stations in the UK. For more information, please read CFHK Foundation’s press release.

Mike Gallagher, Chairman of the US Select Committee on China, wrote a letter to Geoffrey Siebengartner, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. This letter expresses the Committee’s deep concerns over AmCham’s appearance in a recent promotional video created by Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing government. CFHK Foundation welcomes this letter and expects the British Government to follow suit. For more information, please read CFHK Foundation's statement.

Committee News

CFHK Foundation’s President Mark L. Clifford spoke with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business about the threat of the CCP, discussing the recent surveillance balloons, the potential meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and CCP State Councilor Wang Yi, and the disappearance of the CEO of China Renaissance, Bao Fan.

CFHK Foundation’s UK and EU Director Mark Sabah spoke on TalkTV about Liz Truss, the rise of China, Jimmy Lai, Hong Kong, and a lack of a China policy in the UK government. "Jimmy Lai, a British citizen, is being held by the CCP. However, the UK government will not say his name publicly because if they do, they have to take action."

CFHK Foundation’s UK and EU Director Mark Sabah spoke to ChannelsTV regarding Hong Kong’s ongoing national security trial of the Hong Kong 47. He discussed how this trial is an attempt by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to destroy any pro-democracy movement within Hong Kong.

According to Daily Business, EU-owned BrewDog has entered a joint venture with Budweiser China. This joint venture is hypocritical especially after BrewDog’s attempts to shame Fifa and Qatar over its record on human rights at the World Cup last year. "If they are going to be calling out human rights abuses in Qatar, they should be doing the same in China," stated CFHK Foundation’s, Mark Sabah.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Free Press, during the final day of the United Nations committee hearings, the rapporteur for China highlighted the ambiguity surrounding the definition of Hong Kong’s National Security Law and how without clarification, it could be used “arbitrarily.” A Hong Kong delegate said other countries also did not provide a definition for national security in their relevant legislation either, as threats to national security will “change with circumstances.”

Former chief editor of Stand News Chung Pui-kuen has told the Hong Kong court during his ongoing trial for sedition that politicians should be allowed to criticise the local and national governments as part of Hong Kong’s commitment to free speech, reported Hong Kong Free Press. The ex-editor stated that the government’s suppression of critical voices or opinions will only cause more hatred.

The Hong Kong government is forcing free-to-air TV and radio stations to broadcast 30 minutes of national security propaganda programmes per week. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the Hong Kong authorities, and urged them to withdraw this new measure.

Former Hong Kong legislator and self-exiled democrat Ted Hui (Chi-fung Hui) shared a letter he received from the chief inspector of the Hong Kong Police, encouraging him to surrender to authorities. This act shows just how much extra territorial repression is growing and how it is becoming a big problem for those trying to escape the CCP.

Hong Kong Free Press, pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai asked the Hong Kong High Court to prevent Beijing’s interpretation of the National Security Law from affecting an earlier ruling which allowed his UK lawyer Tim Owen to represent him in his upcoming trial.

The next day, reported the Hong Kong Free Press, the Hong Kong Department of Justice proposed amending the law relating to allowing foreign counsels to work in the city on an ad hoc basis, suggesting that a certificate issued by the chief executive is needed for involvement in a national security case.

According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s Democratic Party was forced to cancel its spring dinner at the last minute, after the venue said a gas meter had malfunctioned. This is the second year in a row that the Democratic Party’s spring dinner was cancelled due to venue “urgent issues.” Just another coincidence.

China has urged state-owned enterprises to run down their contracts with Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC and to hire accountancy firms based in China or Hong Kong to audit their accounts, reports The Times. This is an attempt to further isolate Hong Kongers from the West.

UK-China Relations

The BBC stated that the CCTV commissioner Fraser Sampson has encouraged the use of Hikvision CCTV cameras to be scrapped by Welsh public bodies, after concerns about security and human rights. It is encouraging that the Welsh government is changing the system after security and ethical concerns.

Kent councils to replace CCTV cameras made by Chinese company, Hikvision, reported the BBC. This decision comes after the decision in 2021 by UK Foreign Affairs Committee that equipment manufactured by companies such as Hikvision should not be permitted to operate within the UK.

Alistair Carmichael MP joined Big Brother Watch in calling for a ban on CCTV cameras made by CCP-owned companies, specifically Hikvision and Dahua. Big Brother Watch demonstrated using giant balloons, to spoof the Chinese spy balloons, outside Parliament.

Ten human rights groups have sent a joint letter to EU High Representative Josep Borell, expressing the need to prioritise human rights in relations with China after findings of potential crimes against humanity. This letter urges the EU and its member states to suspend the EU-China human rights dialogue and to prioritise strong and concrete human rights outcomes across all areas of their relations with China.

ITV News reported on the growing concerns in the UK as to whether enough is being done to counter the influence and interference of China.

In an interview with Nikkei Asia, former British Prime Minister Liz Truss stated the free world is facing a serious challenge from authoritarian regimes, particularly from China. There needs to be initiatives for G-7 nations and like-minded allies to act as an economic NATO to ensure that freedom and democracy is not undermined by China’s economic policies.

According to The Times, a woman who has been identified as a Chinese intelligence agent met with Irish Department of Justice officials to discuss how her business associates could acquire residency visas through the state’s Immigrant Investor Programme.

North America-China Relations

The Wall Street Journal, Congressman and Chair of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party Mike Gallagher advocated for the United States to stand up to the CCP and defend Taiwan. Gallagher stated, “every bully is deep down a coward,” and China is no exception to this rule.

After a visit to Taiwan by US Department of Defense official Michael Chase, the CCP is up in arms, reported AP News. In a petty attempt to quell hope, Beijing spokesperson Zhu Fenglian called for independence efforts with foreign assistance “doomed to failure.”

According to Reuters, next Week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing with top officials on China policy, discussing the importance of combating the generational challenge of CCP aggression. It is vital that the US and others pursue a holistic approach to counter menacing aggression by the CCP.

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