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NEWSLETTER: Sore Losers: Beijing’s Twisted Reinterpretation of the National Security Law

Committee News

CFHK Foundation’s Mark Sabah spoke with Channels TV about how the vagueness of the National Security Law has dismantled Hong Kong’s once revered legal system, court system, judiciary, and rule of law. He discussed Beijing’s use and abuse of the National Security Law which threatens Hong Kong’s freedom.


CFHK Foundation's President Mark Clifford discussed how Apple Daily's Founder Jimmy Lai became the Chinese Communist Party's adversary with Matt Lewis on The Daily Beast. He called for an end to Beijing's campaign against Hong Kong's freedom.


The National Catholic Register highlighted the CFHK Foundation's "Postcards for Jimmy" campaign which involves schoolchildren sending Christmas postcards to Jimmy Lai in prison from around the world. Luke Schwartz, a 10-year old who participated, said, "Mr. Lai is a strong man for standing up for the people of Hong Kong. I'm happy I could do something to make him smile."


Jimmy Lai


The Chinese Communist Party’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee ended 2022 by reinterpreting Articles 14 and 47 of Hong Kong’s National Security Law to allow the Hong Kong National Security Council or Hong Kong’s leader John Lee to deny Jimmy Lai a foreign lawyer for his upcoming National Security Law trial. Reuters detailed the Hong Kong Department of Justice’s long-standing attempt – despite four consecutive court defeats – to prevent London-based human rights lawyer Timothy Owen from defending Lai. CFHK Foundation’s President Mark Clifford told The Times that it was "outrageous" for Jimmy Lai to be denied his choice of legal counsel. Clifford commented that the Hong Kong authorities' decision demonstrates how Hong Kong's Basic Law is comprised of empty words and unattainable actions. He asked what pressure the Chinese Communist Party will place on Jimmy Lai’s Hong Kong-based lawyers.

The Hong Kong authorities plan to delist Jimmy Lai's media company, Next Digital, from the Hong Kong stock exchange next week. The South China Morning Post stated that this decision comes eighteen months after the authorities shut down Jimmy Lai and Next Digital’s associated newspaper, Apple Daily.


Hong Kong


Cardinal Joseph Zen was allowed by Hong Kong authorities to leave Hong Kong to attend Pope Benedict XVI's funeral in Vatican City. The Associated Press reported that Zen applied for permission to leave Hong Kong following the confiscation of his passport in 2022. While it’s good news that Zen was able to pay his respects to the late Pope, it’s telling that he cannot travel freely because of continuing legal procedures relating to the Cardinal's support of a group helping to fund the legal and medical expenses of pro-democracy protesters.


Following a meeting with Police Commissioner Raymond Siu Chak-yee, Hong Kong Legislative Council member Tik Chi-Yuen told The Standard that the cases of 6,000 protesters from the Hong Kong protests in 2019 will be determined next month. It would be a move in the right direction were the police simply to close the cases, most of which stem from peaceful protests in 2019.


Hong Kong authorities proposed a measure that would require crowdfunding campaigns to be pre-approved by the Hong Kong government, reports Nikkei Asia. Crowdfunding has been used successfully by pro-democracy activists. This latest move is yet another attempt to choke off widespread public support in Hong Kong for freedom and democracy.


China


Following the abrupt end of Xi Jinping’s three-year zero-COVID policy in December, China will reopen its border with Hong Kong on Sunday, January 8. Reutersreports that Hong Kong leader John Lee unsurprisingly provided an optimistic outlook on what the border opening will mean. Lee said nothing about the impact of China's raging COVID epidemic on Hong Kong.


Following the United States, United Kingdom, and other Western countries’ restrictions on Chinese and Hong Kong travelers due to the widespread COVID-19 outbreak in China, Beijing has hit back. The Associated Press noted Beijing's threat to retaliate and the South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong’s officials deem the restrictions “unnecessary”.


The Chinese Communist Party's newly appointed foreign minister Qin Gang promised to improve US-China relations. The South China Morning Post claimed that Qin's goal as foreign minister is to stabilize relations between world powers. However, the softer tone appears little more than a chance to buy China time while COVID sweeps the country and the economy flatlines.


Dear friends, The Committee For Freedom Foundation appreciates your readership and your support. We have a packed schedule of events and advocacy planned for 2023, and would appreciate your donation which will help in holding events and advocacy that put a spotlight on the abuses of freedom in Hong Kong. You can donate through our website The Committee For Freedom In Hong Kong Foundation or contact Tara Joseph, Director of Development tara.joseph@thecfhk.org. Thank you in advance!

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