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NEWSLETTER: Hong Kong Secretly Denies British Citizen Jimmy Lai Access to Lawyer

Blog of the Week

Former Ukrainian MP and policy analyst, Aliona Hlivco, shared her moving journey of fighting for freedom on-the-ground in Ukraine and seeking refuge in the UK whilst comparing Ukraine and Hong Kong's fight for basic civil liberties on the international stage. Ms Hlivco wrote, "The fight for freedom and dignity knows no boundaries. It is a universal struggle that requires unwavering courage, resilience, and unity. Whether it is in Ukraine, Hong Kong, or any part of the world, we must continue to stand up for our values, protect our rights, and support those who face oppression."

Committee News

Hong Kong’s Committee for Safeguarding National Security (CSNS) ruled that allowing London-based barrister Timothy Owen to defend media tycoon Jimmy Lai would likely pose a risk “contrary to the interests of national security”. Mr Lai’s legal team has filed a legal bid to ask a Hong Kong court to overturn this decision. The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CHFK) Foundation’s President, Mark Clifford, said, “If anybody needed more evidence that the Hong Kong authorities are systematically destroying Hong Kong’s legal system and rule of law, here we have it as Jimmy Lai’s legal team did not find out for months that the CSNS decided to prevent British citizen Jimmy Lai from hiring British barrister Timothy Owen.”

The CFHK Foundation partnered with the Acton Institute to host an exclusive global screening of the documentary, The Hong Konger: Jimmy Lai’s Extraordinary Struggle for Freedom. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with the associate producer Eric Kohn and the CFHK Foundation’s President Mark Clifford and Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Frances Hui.

The Association of Overseas Hong Kong Media Professionals, which includes the CFHK Foundation’s Advisor Stephen Vines, found that Hong Kong journalists who left Hong Kong due to the National Security Law and extradition bill do not regret leaving the city.

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong authorities said John Lee does not need to provide reasons for denying the involvement of foreign lawyers in National Security Law cases.

During Songkran, or Thai New Year, water is traditionally sprayed through squirt guns to rid of bad luck. However, after two men at a Songkran festival in Hong Kong splashed water on the police,they were arrested for “disorderly conduct” and “malicious targeting”.

After more than three years in detention, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sentenced prominent anti-CCP activists Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi to 14 and 12 years in prison, respectively. Reacting to criticism of the harsh sentences, Beijing falsely claimed that “1.3 billion Chinese people have a say on human rights”. In reality, the CCP threatens human rights in China, Hong Kong, and around the world.

Ahead of a six-day trip to Hong Kong, Beijing’s top official overseeing the territory, Xia Baolong, said that the CCP's “innovative theories should be fully utilised to study and resolve new problems in Hong Kong and Macau”.

This weekend, the Hong Kong government will begin to pay Hong Kongers who have remained in the city-state HK$5,000 worth of vouchers .

Tightened restrictions on neon signs are costing the city its visual buzz.

UK-China Relations

The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked the British government what they have done to raise the case of British citizen Jimmy Lai with the Hong Kong government. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon responded that the UK government has informed the Hong Kong government of their strong stance against the National Security Law and detainment of Mr Lai.

Christopher Hui, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, departed for Belgium ahead of his visit to Britain on Monday. The British government should immediately cancel Mr Hui’s meetings with high-level UK government officials and British businesses as he is part of an administration that has flouted international law with its jailing of more than 1400 political prisoners.

The Financial Times calculated that Hong Kong emigrants to the UK have been prevented from accessing more than £2.2 billion worth of their pensions. The Hong Kong government and companies such as HSBC, Fidelity, Invesco, and Manulife have failed to provide Hong Kongers’ their required funds through the Hong Kong government’s Mandatory Provident Fund retirement system because of tensions between China and Britain.

Britain’s intelligence agency warned the British government that Chinese spies are using their visa-free access to the UK to silently enter Britain. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly should take action to prevent the CCP from infiltrating the UK and placing Hong Kongers at risk of facing danger abroad.

The Guardian uncovered how not only TikTok, but the Capcut, Lark, WeChat, Shein, Temu, and AliExpress applications pose a grave threat to their users worldwide.

EU-China Relations

Following European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s and French President Emmanuel Macron’s failed trip to Beijing, European lawmakers called for an audit on European companies that have allegedly provided equipment to Hong Kong’s police force.

US-China Relations

Disney’s CEO Robert Iger met with the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. Mr Iger assured the Committee that Disney has established measures to prevent future occurrences such as the filming of Mulan in Xinjiang.

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