Updated: Jan 10
PRESS RELEASE: CFHK Foundation signs an open letter to Rishi Sunak, urging him to call for Jimmy Lai’s immediate release
Thursday 15th December – The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation) has today signed an open letter alongside six other Hong Kong NGOs to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, urging for Mr. Sunak to condemn British citizen Jimmy Lai’s recent sentencing and to call for his immediate release.
On Saturday 10th of December, Mr. Lai was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison in Hong Kong for trumped-up fraud charges, for “violating” a lease contract for the headquarters of his newspaper Apple Daily. Mr Lai also faces other spurious charges under Hong Kong’s National Security Law. After three failed attempts to appeal the High Court’s decision to allow Mr. Lai to be represented by an international lawyer, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials were unable to take no for an answer and Mr. Lai’s legal counsel had his visa extension denied and was forced to leave Hong Kong.
The letter, spearheaded by CFHK Foundation and signed by Hong Kong Watch, Hong Kong Liberty, HongKongers in Britain, Hong Kong Aid, Scottish HongKongers and Stand with Hong Kong, urges Mr. Sunak to “impose political and economic consequences for China’s failure to keep its promises to respect Hong Kong’s freedoms which were enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.” It goes on to demand that Mr. Sunak imposes sanctions on John Lee and all those responsible for the execution and implementation of the draconian National Security Law.
CFHK Foundation implores Mr. Sunak to defend political prisoners and media freedoms around the world, as well as protect Hong Kongers both in their home city of Hong Kong and those who have resettled in the UK. Finally, CFHK Foundation calls on the Prime Minister to demand Mr. Lai’s immediate and unequivocal release from prison, where he is currently in solitary confinement.
CFHK Foundation President, Mark Clifford, said:
“The UK must not be complicit in the human rights violations taking place at the hands of the CCP in Hong Kong. Failing to stand up for justice and for the integrity of the Sino-British Joint Declaration is an insult to all Hong Kongers – including those who have settled on British soil. Calling for Jimmy Lai’s immediate release would send a message to the CCP, and the world, that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is a defender of human rights, justice and press freedoms.”