12 May 2023 – The Hong Kong government has rejected the written and oral evidence provided by the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation, Hong Kong Watch, Freiheit fur Hongkong e.V., and Hongkongers in Deutschland e.V. for the United Nations 85th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
In their oral statement, the Hong Kong organisations that defend human rights in Hong Kong explained how the arbitrary application of the National Security Law (NSL) since June 2020 has systematically eroded women’s rights in Hong Kong. The human rights organisations called out how Hong Kong’s annual International Women’s Day March was cancelled on national security grounds this year. They also raised the gender-based and sexual violence that women faced during the 2019 protests in Hong Kong. The human rights organisations urged the CEDAW to demand that the Hong Kong government repeal the NSL.
In response, the Hong Kong government as the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party immediately rejected the evidence from the human rights organisations, stating that the written submissions included “flawed comments on the human rights situation in Hong Kong” and were based on “false information” and “distorted narratives”. The Hong Kong government threatened that they would make “stern rebuttals to any vilification at the [next] hearing”.
During the CEDAW’s review of China’s state report, the Hong Kong government delegates condemned the “untruthful commentary” of the Hong Kong organisations and defended the NSL that “stopped the chaos” following the “serious violence” that started in Hong Kong in 2019. The delegates “pointed out that Article 4 of the NSL clearly stipulates that human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security” in Hong Kong. In addition, the session was censored in China and a Chinese government representative took pictures of Hong Kong human rights activists in attendance.
The CEDAW should not fall victim to the propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party and should carefully consider the many testimonies of women in Hong Kong who have been systematically persecuted for exercising their rights under international law.