The UK-Hong Kong Summit 2023 - Home Away from Home
This week's blog is authored by Finn Lau, Chairman of the UK-Hong Kong Summit and Founder of Hong Kong Liberty.
After four months of hard work and preparation, the three-day UK-Hong Kong Summit 2023 successfully came to an end on 27th March 2023. As the Chairperson of the UK-Hong Kong Summit Steering Committee, I was honoured to witness the power of community and solidarity in action. It was truly inspiring to bring together over 160 people and more than 60 civil society organisations from across the UK who share a common passion for freedom in Hong Kong and a desire to integrate with their local communities in the UK. I never expected myself or participants to shed tears whilst delivering my closing speech.
The Summit included a mix of emotions, ranging from anger and despair to gratitude and hope. We discussed the ongoing struggle for freedom in Hong Kong and how to combat the brutal suppression of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, despite the challenges, the underlying message was one of hope and determination.
We were fortunate to have over 30 remarkable speakers, including at least 12 UK parliamentarians such as Lord Patten of Barnes who was the last British Governor of Hong Kong, one former Ukrainian MP, and 19 other guest speakers and panelists. Their knowledge and insights were an inspiration to us all. We were grateful for the opportunity to hear from them and learn from their experiences.
One of the most meaningful moments of the Summit was when we arranged for over 100 participants to visit the UK Parliament and have face-to-face discussions with parliamentarians from the House of Lords and House of Commons. These discussions gave attendees the chance to express their concerns, share their experiences, and call for more action to support Hong Kong and Hong Kongers who have relocated to the UK. It was empowering for everyone involved, and we left feeling more determined to continue to defend our home.
The panel discussions were also incredibly encouraging, as guests shared their personal experiences with the CCP and efforts to advance freedom in Hong Kong. The challenges and sacrifices they have made were deeply moving and motivational. Their determination to continue fighting in the face of adversity was a needed reminder of the power of the human spirit.
The Summit was a wonderful opportunity for attendees to connect and form meaningful relationships with others who shared their passion for Hong Kong's freedom. People from all walks of life, with different backgrounds and experiences, came together with a shared sense of purpose and determination. I am grateful for the opportunity to have led the Steering Committee, which consisted of members from different parts of the UK, including London, Leeds, Nottingham, Reading, Sheffield, and Exeter, and to have played a small part in bringing the diasporic Hong Kong community together. The impact of this gathering will be felt for years to come, and I am hopeful that it will help to continue to shine a light on the importance of freedom in Hong Kong, China, and other places that authoritarian regimes continue to crush around the world.
The road ahead is long and arduous. We sincerely hope that Hong Kongers will continue to support each other and reunite in our homeland in the foreseeable future.