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Hong Kong Activist Frances Hui Demands Release of Jimmy Lai and All Political Prisoners in Hong Kong

17 May 2023 – At the annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, the Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation Frances Hui gave a speech on her experience fleeing Hong Kong and working as an activist to free all political prisoners in Hong Kong. She urged the international community to hold the Chinese Communist Party to account for their erosion of human rights in Hong Kong.

Starting with her experience in Hong Kong in 2014, Ms Hui underscored how the Hong Kong police targeted peaceful protesters including herself with tear gas cannisters, batons and pepper spray. Hong Kongers used helmets, googles and umbrellas in defence. Ms Hui shared how, again in 2019, protests prompted more than ten thousand arrests, dozens of disappearances and eleven suicides.

After the passage of the National Security Law in June 2020, Ms Hui said she was immediately warned that she would be arrested by the Hong Kong government. As a conflicted 21-year-old, never knowing if she would see her home again, Ms Hui boarded a plane to the United States.

In 2021, Ms Hui was the first Hong Konger to secure asylum in the United States. She stated how leaving her home physically has not prevented the Chinese Communist Party from harassing and intimidating her and her friends. Nevertheless, Ms Hui highlighted her continued fight for freedom and the release of political prisoners in Hong Kong. She urged politicians, journalists and activists to place pressure on Hong Kong to secure the immediate release of all Hong Kong political prisoners including British citizen Jimmy Lai.

Yesterday, Reporters Without Borders led an international joint letter which includes 116 high-profile media leaders worldwide calling for the release of Jimmy Lai, who has been detained in Hong Kong for 867 days. Despite the Hong Kong government expressing its strong opposition to the letter, Ms Hui, the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation and others will continue to publicly say the names and make famous the profiles of Jimmy Lai, Joshua Wong, Gwyneth Ho, Owen Chow, and other political prisoners in Hong Kong. They are not forgotten.

Frances Hui, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation, said:

“We cannot accept the status quo. We must hold China accountable, and let Hong Kong be Hong Kong. The Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarianism is one of the biggest threats to the world order and democracy, alongside other bad actors like Russia, Burma and Iran. Today, years have gone by and the dawn is yet to come for Hong Kong and for many of you here that are experiencing autocratic oppression. However, I believe that together, we can restore the light in the global pro-democracy movement so that the political prisoners will be free, and we will once again be able to set foot in our dear homes.”

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