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EU passes Resolution calling for the release of Jimmy Lai and repeal of Hong Kong NSL

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

15 June 2023 – Today, the European Parliament has passed An Urgent Resolution urging “the Hong Kong Government to immediately and unconditionally release and drop all charges against Jimmy Lai and all other pro-democracy representatives and activists who have exercised their freedom of expression and basic human rights.”

The Resolution is entitled ‘Resolution on the deterioration of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong, notably the case of Jimmy Lai,’ and it raises multiple issues of serious concern about the situation in Hong Kong and the targeting of pro-democracy campaigners, journalists and human rights defenders.

The resolution was adopted by 483 votes in favour, 9 against and 42 abstentions.

The resolution reiterates the European Parliament’s demands that EU member states should suspend any extradition treaties with Hong Kong and China and that the EU should introduce targeted sanctions against all officials from Hong Kong and China responsible for the ongoing human rights crackdown in the city, including Chief Executive John Lee.

The resolution also highlights China’s transnational repression and condemns the attempts made by Chinese authorities to target their diaspora communities in the EU. Finally, the resolution call for China to stop impeding the work of journalists.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC, who leads the international legal team for Jimmy Lai and Sebastien Lai, added:

“Jimmy Lai has already spent two and a half years behind bars for speaking truth to power. He now faces the prospect of life behind bars, and we now face the terrible prospect of a UK national dying in prison for standing up for democratic values and exercising his internationally protected rights. It is heartening to see the European Parliament now speak out for Jimmy Lai. The European Parliament has called for his immediate and unconditional release. Now, Hong Kong must act – before it is too late.”

Mark Sabah, Director, UK & EU, CFHK Foundation said:

“This is the best example so far of how the authorities in Hong Kong and China should be treated in response to their human rights and civil liberties crackdown in Hong Kong. They must immediately free Jimmy Lai and all political prisoners, including all journalists who have been detained for simply doing their job. We commend and applaud all the MEPs who supported this vital motion, as it offers a glimmer of hope to those feeling despair.”

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