8 March 2023 – The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation splashed images of Hong Kong’s women political prisoners across New York City’s skyline for International Women’s Day.
The projections featured Gwyneth Ho, Alice Wong Yuen-lam, Jessica Chu Wai-ying, Claudia Mo, and Chow Hang-tung. These women’s only crimes were to love Hong Kong too much, to care so much about freedom that they sacrificed theirs, imprisoned by a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that has broken international treaties and its constitutional promises to Hong Kong.
Gwyneth Ho is a former Stand News reporter who covered the 2019 Hong Kong protests, during which she was beaten by a pro-government mob at the Yuen Long MTR station. In 2020, she was a candidate in Hong Kong’s unofficial pro-democracy primary elections. She was arrested in January 2021 under the National Security Law for her “conspiracy to commit subversion” against the Hong Kong authorities for running in the primaries and attending a banned Tiananmen Square vigil. She has been in prison for 743 days.
Alice Wong Yuen-lam co-founded Student Politicism in 2020, which was one of the final existing pro-democracy organisations in Hong Kong. She was arrested in September 2021 for organising street booths and allegedly encouraging Hong Kongers to stop using the LeaveHomeSafe Covid tracking app and preparing for a “revolution”. She has been in prison for 537 days.
Jessica Chu Wai-Ying also co-founded the pro-democracy organisation Student Politicism. She was arrested under the National Security Law for organising street booths in September 2021 and sentenced to thirty months in prison in October 2022. She has been in prison for 539 days.
Claudia Mo is a former Hong Kong journalist and lawmaker. She resigned as a politician in November 2020 to protest the Hong Kong government’s disqualification of four of her colleagues. She was arrested under the National Security Law for “attempting to commit subversion” after running in the pro-democracy primaries in January 2021. She has been in prison for 737 days.
Chow Hang-Tung is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee who previously served as the Vice Chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance, which organises annual Tiananmen Square marches and vigils. She was arrested for organising and participating in vigils as well as generally supporting Hong Kong's democratic movement in June 2021. She has been in prison for 551 days.
These brave women represent a fraction of the women political prisoners in Hong Kong, which holds the largest percentage of women prisoners in the world. In conjunction with International Women’s Day, the CFHK Foundation launched its political prisoner database which includes these five women and others who have fought for the freedom that is rightfully theirs.
On this International Women’s Day, the CFHK Foundation urges Western government leaders to call attention to women political prisoners in Hong Kong, China, and around the world.
The CFHK Foundation’s Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, Frances Hui, said:
“It was shocking to discover that Hong Kong’s youngest female political prisoner is only 14 years old. The Chinese Communist Party has jailed more women and girls than any other regime in the 21st century. Their faces alongside over one thousand more political prisoners in Hong Kong signify tremendous courage and determination in protecting the freedom of our home. On this International Women’s Day, world leaders should learn their names and raise them in diplomatic engagements with their Chinese counterparts to call for their immediate release.”
The CFHK Foundation’s President, Mark Clifford, said:
"It is a shame that women and girls comprise such a large percentage of Hong Kong’s nearly 1400 political prisoners. On International Women’s Day, it is especially important to remember the city’s women political prisoners. We can learn from these women who continue to take a stand for global freedom and democracy worldwide from behind bars. They are not forgotten.”