Updated: Jul 31
NEWSLETTER: UK Trade Minister Greg Hands travels to Taiwan
The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation) provided an exclusive screening in New York of ‘The Hong Konger,’ a documentary on the story of political prisoner Jimmy Lai and his struggle for freedom in the city-state. The viewing was followed by a panel discussion with CFHK Foundation’s Mark Clifford and Frances Hui and Baggio Leung from Hong Kong Liberation Coalition. Jimmy Lai Reporters Without Borders (RSF) started a campaign calling for the urgent release of Apple Daily founder, Jimmy Lai. Lai has already been behind bars for two years. If Lai and his former Apple Daily colleagues are found guilty under the National Security Law, it would set a dangerous precedent for journalism and press freedom in Hong Kong. Sign RSF’s petition here to show support for Lai and all defenders of press freedom in Hong Kong. This week, a Hong Kong court upheld the decision to let a British lawyer defend Jimmy Lai in his upcoming trial, which starts on the 1st December, the Independent reported. Lai was arrested for engaging in peaceful pro-democracy protests in 2019 under the oppressive National Security Law and recently spent his 75th birthday behind bars. Timothy Owen KC, a veteran human rights lawyer representing Lai, at first faced opposition from the city’s secretary of justice and the Hong Kong Bar Association, but will now be allowed to defend Lai in court. China The UK Minister for trade, Greg Hands, has been in Taiwan this week for trade talks. Hands wrote for The Times Red Box on Monday about why “strengthening trade with Taiwan will be vital for the years ahead.” The trip has been met with contempt by China, which accused Britain of sending the “wrong signals” over Taiwan’s independence, The Times reported. Zhao Lijian, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said Britain should uphold the so-called one-China principle (not to be confused with the U.S.’s one-China policy) and stop “any forms of official contacts with Taiwan.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week accused China of attempting to interfere with the country’s elections, the BBC reported. Officials told Trudeau that in 2019, at least 11 candidates were supported by China in the federal elections. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that China has “no interest” in meddling in Canadian elections and that it should stop making remarks that “hurt China-Canada relations.” President Xi Jinping told the People’s Liberation Army to “focus all its energy on fighting” in preparation for war, The Guardian reported this week. Xi said at a recent party congress that China must prepare for “dangerous storms” on the horizon. Xi’s instructions came amidst a backdrop of increasing tensions between China and the West, as its strained relationships with the UK, US, and Canada have been in the spotlight this week. US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet next week at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Indonesia. However, Biden has vowed to make no “fundamental concessions” in his first in-person summit with Xi, Bloomberg reported. At a press conference this week, when asked about China at the G-20 summit, Biden explained that he is looking for “competition, not conflict” with China and wants to understand what Xi believes to be the “critical national interests” of China. Scottish universities’ reliance on international fees is under ministerial review, as a fear of global conflict with Beijing may lead to an exodus of Chinese students. Scottish Higher Education Minister Jamie Hepburn said that he was “alert to some of the challenges” posed by unstable regimes, reported The Times. Peter Mathieson, principal of Edinburgh University, said the institution was “overly dependent” on Chinese fees. Given recent reports of the role and influence of Confucius Institutes, universities must act fast to remove them. Hong Kong In the face of rapidly increasing dissent from the West, lawmakers have ignored the “one country, two systems” policy and have urged Hong Kong officials to boldly promote national pride and raise awareness about foreign interference. This comes as lawmakers approved a motion urging the Government to encourage residents to learn about Xi Jinping’s report at the country’s 20th party congress, South China Morning Post has reported. In another attempt to showcase the city as open to business, Hong Kong launched its flagship “Legal Week,” reported the South China Morning Post. The event aims to highlight the advantages of the city’s rule of law – but they aren’t fooling anyone as they continue to use the barbaric National Security Law to target freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and legal and judicial norms.