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Foreign Judges Resign From Top Hong Kong Court

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Lord Lawrence Collins of Mapesbury and Lord Jonathan Sumption have resigned their positions from the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal. Their resignations follow the release of a report by the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation in May, calling for foreign judges in Hong Kong to step down. The report, “Lending Prestige to Persecution: How Foreign Judges are Undermining Hong Kong’s Freedoms and Why they Should Quit,” was launched in the British House of Commons.  


Several news publications reported on the resignations, and quoted the CFHK Foundation:  

“Former top UK judges resign from Hong Kong court amid China crackdown,” The Financial Times 

“Two more British judges resign from Hong Kong’s top court,” The Guardian 

“UK Judges Quit $51,000-a-Month Job at HK Court as Scrutiny Rises,” Bloomberg 

“Former Supreme Court judges quit Hong Kong amid human rights concerns,” The Telegraph 

“Two British judges quit top Hong Kong court amid pro-China crackdown on dissent,” The Independent 

“Explainer: Two Prominent Former UK Judges Step Down from Hong Kong’s Courts,” The Jurist 

“Two British judges resign from Hong Kong court. One cites the city’s ‘political situation’,” The Associated Press 

“Why two UK judges cut ties with Hong Kong's courts,” BBC News 

“Two British judges quit Hong Kong's top court,” Reuters 

“Explainer: British judges' resignations put Hong Kong rule of law in spotlight,” Reuters  


This week also marked the 35th anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre. The CFHK Foundation released a statement to commemorate the courage of the Tiananmen Square protesters and the many throughout China who are imprisoned today for advocating for human rights.  


The CFHK Foundation’s Mark Sabah, Alyssa Fong, and Chloe Cheung participated in the Oslo Freedom Forum this week, where Sebastien Lai, the son of Jimmy Lai, spoke about his father's imprisonment and Hong Kong’s crackdown on Tiananmen Square vigils. 


The CFHK Foundation also met with journalists, politicians, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway to discuss Hong Kong political prisoners, the campaign to free Jimmy Lai, and EU and Norway-China relations. 


Alyssa Fong, Sebastien Lai, and Chloe Cheung at the Oslo Freedom Forum.


In Washington, D.C., the CFHK Foundation’s Frances Hui spoke at a candlelight vigil honouring protesters killed on June 4th, 1989. The vigil was hosted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.


Alongside human rights and pro-democracy activists, the CFHK Foundation attended a hearing by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and a press conference held by the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party on “Tiananmen at 35.”


Former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the CFHK Foundation’s Frances Hui at a press conference in front of Capitol Hill honouring the Tiananmen Square massacre.


The CFHK Foundation also displayed a message “HK47 - Never Forget 2019” at the Nationals vs. Mets game to remember the 47 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists imprisoned under the national security law and the city’s mass peaceful pro-democracy movement in 2019.


Displayed message “Hong Kong 47 - Never Forget 2019” at the Nationals vs. Mets game


Jimmy Lai's Trial Update


The trial of Jimmy Lai continued on Monday, June 3rd, with senior barrister Robert Pang indicating that Lai was trembling and feeling unwell. 


Pang said Lai had consulted a doctor the previous night and was prescribed pain medication. The prosecution said they would discuss arrangements with the police and correctional services for further medical examination. The hearing was adjourned for a day until Tuesday, June 4th. 


The trial resumed on June 4th, and the prosecution continued to play interview clips of Lai with Benedict Rogers, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Watch, and Lord David Alton, a member of the UK House of Lords. 


Detailed trial updates available here: Support Jimmy Lai 


Hong Kong


Hong Kong National Security police have made their first arrest under the new security law Article 23, which punishes treason and insurrection with up to life imprisonment. Six people, including jailed Tiananmen activist Chow Hang-tung, have been arrested for “publishing posts with seditious intent, taking advantage of an upcoming sensitive day.” The social media posts were made to a Facebook page with content marking next week’s 35th anniversary of the 1989 crackdown.


Hong Kong Arrests & Solidarity


Hong Kong police have made their eighth arrest under Article 23, the new security law, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. A 62-year-old man was detained on suspicion of “offences in connection with seditious intention” in a case linked to jailed human rights activist Chow Hang-tung. Sing Tao  reported that the man arrested on Monday was Chow’s uncle. 


On the 35th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, there was a heavy police presence in Victoria Park, where Hongkongers previously gathered for annual candlelight vigils to honour those killed on June 4, 1989. This year, instead of a vigil, pro-Beijing groups organised a patriotic carnival. 


Hong Kong police also arrested four people on June 4th near Victoria Park, including an elderly woman apprehended on suspicion of acting with seditious intention under Article 23. 


The British Consulate-General in Hong Kong posted a picture to social media of a mobile phone with an image of a torch and the Roman numerals “VIIV,” referring to “6/4.” The US Consulate in Hong Kong and the European Union office to Hong Kong and Macau also displayed rows of flickering candles in their windows on June 4th.    

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