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The US House Foreign Affairs Committee passed H.R. 1103: HKETO Certification Act

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

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The United States House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the H.R. 1103: Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) Certification Act by a vote of 39 to 0. This legislation is designed to compel the President to “remove the extension of certain privileges, exemptions, and immunities to the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices if Hong Kong no longer enjoys a high degree of autonomy from the People’s Republic of China, and for other purposes.” If enacted, this measure would lead to the closure of Hong Kong’s representative offices in Washington DC, New York, and San Francisco. In response, a Hong Kong government spokesperson said that The HKETO Certification Act was “malicious slander”.

Mark Sabah, Director of The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation), moderated a panel discussion on China's growing influence in the EU at the European Parliament. The event, hosted by European Parliament Vice President Pina Picierno MEP, Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU), and the World Uyghur Congress, gathered Members of the European Parliament, Parliamentary staffers, European Commission staff, activists, and representatives from several embassies to hear testimonies about transnational repression by the CCP across Europe.

The CFHK Foundation and Georgetown University’s Asian Studies Program hosted an exhibition and panel discussion in Washington, DC, titled, ‘Art Under China's Red Line: Exhibition/Panel on Press Freedom in Hong Kong’. Featuring opening remarks from the CFHK Foundation’s Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Frances Hui, and Georgetown Asian Studies Program Director, Dr. Yuhki Tajima, focusing on the erosion of press freedom in Hong Kong and the perspectives that should be adopted.

Jimmy Lai

Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal has scheduled Jimmy Lai's appeal for April of 2024, regarding the decision to prohibit British lawyer Tim Owen from representing Lai in his National Security Law trial. Notably, Jimmy Lai's trial is set to commence on December 18 this year, four months before the scheduled appeal date.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s largest national security trial began final arguments on November 29. The police have charged 47 pro-democracy individuals with "conspiracy to subvert state power" based on their intention to win a majority of seats in the parliament. Some defendants have already endured over 1,000 days in detention without the possibility of bail. If found guilty, in accordance with the National Security Law, they could potentially face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Hong Kong-based journalist, Minnie Chan, has been missing for a month now since a trip to Beijing to attend an event. The Hong Kong Journalists Association is deeply concerned for Minnie’s safety and is requesting more information from the South China Morning Post.

Global firms such as Deloitte and KPMG are advising their staff to use burner phones during trips to Hong Kong. The advice stems from a lack of confidence in the local business environment and concerns about potential hacks and breaches of client data.

US-China Relations

The Congressional-Executive Commission (CECC) condemned the assault on Chinese human rights advocates, who were attacked by pro-CCP counter-protestors at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in San Francisco last week.

UK-China Relations

British TV station, Channel 4 exposes and raises concerns about suspected Chinese spying activities in the UK and Chinese influence in top British universities. The documentary titled "Secrets and Power: China in the UK”, unveils instances ranging from the University of Nottingham closing a school under Beijing's pressure to Imperial College's AI collaboration with China's military.

A woman in Derbyshire bought a waterproof women’s coat online during the Black Friday sale and found an ID card that appears to belong to a Chinese prisoner inside the lining of a coat from the British brand Regatta. A spokesperson for Regatta stated that an immediate investigation has been initiated.

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