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PRESS RELEASE: CFHK Foundation Applauds New U.S. Legislation to Designate the Area Outside the U.S. HKETO as "Jimmy Lai Way"

April 25, 2024 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) Chairman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-NY) announced they introduced new legislation, H.R. 8125, to designate the area outside of the U.S. Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) as "Jimmy Lai Way." 

Lai Chee-Ying, also known as “Jimmy Lai,” is a 76-year-old democracy activist and successful Hong Kong media mogul and entrepreneur. Lai is the founder of Apple Daily, one of the most well-read newspapers in Hong Kong that was forced to close in 2020 because of its support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement. Since 2020, Lai has been imprisoned in Hong Kong's maximum-security Stanley Prison on politically-motivated and fabricated charges to which he has pled not guilty. In his ongoing trial, Beijing officials have intervened issuing the first "interpretation" of the National Security Law to deny Lai's choice of legal representation. The maximum sentence under Hong Kong's National Security Law is 10 years and Jimmy Lai could spend the rest of his life in prison.

In a self-defense that he read in court, Lai wrote: "If commemorating those who died because of injustice is a crime, …then let me [too] suffer the punishment [so that] I may share the burden and the glory of those young men and women who shed their blood on June Fourth to proclaim truth, justice, and goodness."

The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation’s U.S. Director, Jonathan Stivers, said:

"We applaud the introduction of legislation designating the area outside the U.S. HKETO office as 'Jimmy Lai Way.' We believe this action will send a strong message to officials in Beijing and Hong Kong that the U.S. and international community will not rest until Jimmy Lai and other political prisoners in Hong Kong are released from prison, immediately and unconditionally. Chairman Chris Smith and Congressman Tom Suozzi have been champions for freedom and human rights in Hong Kong and their leadership is appreciated. We further call on the Leadership in the House of Representatives and the Senate to bring to the floor the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Certification Act (H.R.1103/S.490), bill that would remove the extension of certain privileges, exemptions, and immunities to the HKETOs since it is clear that Hong Kong no longer enjoys a high degree of autonomy from the People’s Republic of China." The legislation deserves a floor vote in both houses of Congress as soon as possible."

The CFHK Foundation’s Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, Frances Hui, said: 

"The Hong Kong government has been using its HKETOs located all around the world to paint a glorified picture of the city over its brutal crackdown on Hongkongers. Behind its building in the center of D.C. is a regime that has imprisoned over 1800 protesters and activists for standing up against China’s authoritarian behaviors. While the government undertakes a massive sham trial against Jimmy Lai, it will never name him in any international settings or diplomatic engagements. We cannot let the Hong Kong government get away with this. Naming the street outside the HKETO office in Jimmy Lai’s name will not only honor his bravery but also remind the world of his unwavering commitment to peaceful protest and civil disobedience and to bring continuity of his free spirit for democracy to Washington on his behalf."

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