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PRESS RELEASE: European Parliament passes resolution condemning Hong Kong Article 23 legislation, calls for immediate release of Jimmy Lai

25 April 2024 - Today, the European Parliament unanimously adopted an urgent resolution condemning the introduction of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance (SNSO) based on Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Jimmy Lai and other pro-democracy activists.

Members of the European Parliament from five parties voted in favour of a joint motion which specifically raised the cases of Andy Li and Joseph John. Andy Li is currently a prosecution witness in the Jimmy Lai trial but has had his evidence questioned due to alleged torture during detention. A second Hong Kong political prisoner, Joseph John, is a Portuguese citizen and the first dual national to be convicted under the National Security Law.

The joint motion calls for the EU to adopt EU Global Human Rights Sanctions against Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee and other officials responsible for the human rights crackdown in the city and explicitly stated that the National Security Law and Article 23 legislation are in breach of the Sino-British Declaration and the Sino-Portuguese declaration. Concern is also expressed about how Article 23 legislation and the National Security Law are used to target Hong Kongers who have moved abroad and the resolution calls for the suspension of extradition treaties with China and Hong Kong.,

The motion also highlights that Advocacy Officer for Reporters without Borders (RSF) Alexsandra Bielakowska, a Polish citizen, was detained upon arrival in Hong Kong, interrogated, and deported earlier this month as she attempted to enter Hong Kong to attend the trial of Jimmy Lai.

This motion, made in the closing days of this European Parliament’s mandate, follows on from previous European Parliament actions on Hong Kong including the 2023 motion on the deterioration of fundamental freedom in Hong Kong, which cites concerns over the detention of pro-democracy figures such as Jimmy Lai, Chow Hang-tung, Lee Cheuk-yan, and Joshua Wong.


Mark Sabah, Director of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation, said:

“We applaud the European Parliament for continuing to keep their attention and focus on the crackdown on Hong Kong. The trial of Jimmy Lai shows the continued erosion of civil liberties and a fair legal system in Hong Kong. It is imperative that the EU, the UK, and other countries who stand up for human rights and rule of law continue to expose the behaviour of the Hong Kong authorities and their Chinese Communist Party rulers.”

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