Updated: Jul 31
On the evening of Tuesday 25th October, the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation) illuminated buildings in the New York’s financial district with provocative messages that call on Wall Street to boycott a major financial conference organised by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) next week. CFHK Foundation President Mark Clifford said: “It’s outrageous that Wall Street executives are meeting with Hong Kong leader John Lee – a man for whom they couldn’t even open a checking account, because of sanctions imposed by the US after his crushing of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Xi Jinping made it clear he is willing to invade Taiwan. Wall Street shouldn’t be funding America’s enemy. CFHK Foundation President Mark Clifford wrote in the New York Post on the conference this week: “Top bankers from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and other financial powerhouses will head to Hong Kong from the 1st – 3rd of November to meet with a leader the US Government has sanctioned for his human-rights violations. Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee isn’t allowed to open an account with any of these American banks – yet their leaders are happy to hobnob with Lee and polish the city’s tarnished image. If financiers go ahead with plans to attend the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit, the craven display will prove what the Chinese Communist Party has long suspected: Wall Street is the weak underbelly of American politics.” Commenting in the Financial Times CFHK Foundation President Mark Clifford said: “Hong Kong wants international investors to ignore the ruthless crackdown on freedom that has taken place since its national security law was imposed on the city in mid-2020…Free and open international financial centres do not have political prisoners…Business should pay attention now and not be lured in by Hong Kong’s self-serving actions.” Jimmy Lai A Hong Kong court has this week found Jimmy Lai guilty on two counts of fraud, adding to his mounting false convictions. Bloomberg reported that Lai wore a mask when he entered the courtroom and waved to a crowd of about 30 observers, with one person shouting for Lai to take care of himself. CFHK Foundation President Mark Clifford spoke with Maria Bartiromo at Fox Business about Jimmy Lai’s conviction for fraud. He said: “This conviction is a joke, and it just shows how far Hong Kong’s courts have fallen. It used to be a place with rule of law… there’s now a 100% conviction rate on political charges, it’s just like mainland China. What does that say about Hong Kong as an international business centre? It’s just shocking.” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have started a campaign for the urgent release of Jimmy Lai, who has been detained already for two years. The sentencing of Jimmy Lai and his former colleagues would set a dangerous precedent for journalism and press freedom as the Chinese regime strengthens its grip on the special administrative region. Sign RSF’s petition here to show support for Lai and all the press freedom defenders in Hong Kong, by calling on the Hong Kong authorities to drop the charges against Lai and release him without further delay. Hong Kong Hong Kong has dropped out of the top 20 in this year’s World Justice Project’s rule of law index due to the Beijing-imposed National Security Law. The Hong Kong Free Press reported that the city has dropped three places to rank at 22 this year; the score decreased by 2.8% from last year, which marked the second-largest drop in the Asia-Pacific region after Myanmar. China Universities have been warned that an “excessive concentration” of Chinese students is putting them at risk of a funding crisis as diplomatic relations between the UK and China sour. The Telegraph reported that Lord Johnson of Marylebone, a former universities minister, said that universities were relying on Chinese students for as much as a third of their total tuition fee income. The warning comes as the UK Government pledged earlier this month to do “more to adapt to China’s growing impact;” however, the direction the new Government will take remains to be seen. Han Yutao, a Chinese student living in the US, has been targeted by Chinese police after he supported the Beijing “Bridge Man” protest. The Epoch Times reported that the police visited his family and obtained his contact information in the US from his mother. Ministers have been called on to intervene after the Chinese Communist Party was accused of operating a “shadowy and chilling” secret police hub in the heart of Glasgow. The address houses the premises Loon Fung, one of the city’s oldest and best-known Chinese restaurants. It was identified as part of the global network of undeclared “police stations” by Safeguard Defenders, a Madrid-based civil liberties group, reported The Times. Two further addresses were identified in London. Meanwhile, in Ireland, the Department of Foreign Affairs told the Chinese embassy to close a ‘police service station’ in Dublin that had also been identified by Safeguard Defenders, reported The Irish Times. A ban on Confucius Institutes operating at UK universities is being drawn up by officials to honour Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s election campaign pledge. During the leadership campaign in the summer, he claimed he would shut down the 30 Confucius Institutes as he labelled China the “largest threat to Britain and the world’s security and prosperity this century,” reported The Telegraph. This would be a monumental win and particularly timely given the recent report by the Henry Jackson Society and the CFHK Foundation ‘An Investigation of China’s Confucius Institutes in the UK’ which recommended that they should be removed from UK universities. Prisoners of Conscience Four former members of the pro-democracy group, Student Politicism, were sentenced to three years in prison under the National Security Law this week. The Hong Kong Free Press reported that Wong Yat-chin, who has the convenor of the defunct political group, Chan Chi-sum, its secretary general, and former spokespersons Jessica Chu and Alice Wong, appeared at the District Court in front of Judge Kwok Wai-kin, one of the city’s handpicked national security judges.