Tag Archives: Hong Kong

China/Hong Kong/USA: Human Rights in China Worsen as Beijing Extends Reach to Hong Kong: Report

October 6, 2017

US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (standing, center-R), chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, tells journalists that the commission will nominate jailed Hong Kong activists and the 2014 'Umbrella Movement' for the Nobel Peace Prize, in Washington, Oct. 5, 2017.

Freedoms of speech and religion, the rule of law, and individual rights and freedoms have worsened during the past year under the ruling Chinese Communist Party, an annual congressional-executive report has found, calling on the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to do more to halt the decline in basic freedoms.

“As President Trump heads to China next month, he must press China to uphold international human rights norms, respect the rule of law, and adhere to universal standards,” Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) chairman Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) told journalists on Thursday as the report was published.

The report found that the Chinese Communist Party continues to “use the law as an instrument of repression to expand control over Chinese society,” and that “the criminalization of China’s human rights lawyers and advocates is ongoing, including credible reports of torture in detention.”

Meanwhile, in the former British colony of Hong Kong, “the long-term viability of the ‘one country, two systems’ model … is increasingly uncertain given central government interference,” it said.

Wang Yanfang, wife of jailed rights lawyer Tang Jingling, called on Trump to raise the issue of political prisoners on his forthcoming visit to China.

“I hope that Trump will raise the issue of Tang Jingling and many other prisoners of conscience,” Wang said. “They are in a dire situation.”




Hong Kong/China/AI: Freedom of expression under attack as scores of peaceful protesters face “chilling” prosecutions

September 26, 2017

Image result for amnesty international

The Hong Kong government must drop prosecutions aimed at having a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the city, Amnesty International said ahead of the third anniversary of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.

Three years on from the start of the unprecedented 79-day protest in late 2014, scores of protesters, who were arrested for their involvement in the largely peaceful protests, remain in legal limbo, uncertain if they will face charges.

“Three years since the Umbrella Movement protests, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over Hong Kong. The government’s stance is having a chilling effect on peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.

“The government must drop prosecutions which have the effect of deterring people from participating in peaceful protests, particularly on sensitive issues such as Hong Kong’s autonomy and democracy. The authorities’ continued obfuscation has left protesters in legal limbo and is detrimental to human rights in Hong Kong.”

Chilling effect

According to government figures, 955 people were arrested during the Umbrella Movement. After the protests, the government further arrested 48 people, mostly key individuals involved in the pro-democracy demonstrations. They were arrested for a range of offences including “unlawful assembly” and ”unauthorized assembly”.

Many of them were released after their arrest, but police notified them that criminal investigations were still ongoing and they would be re-arrested and charged, should there be sufficient evidence to prosecute them.

Among the 48 prominent activists who were arrested after the Umbrella Movement protests were Associate Professor Benny Tai, Rev. Chu Yiu-ming and Chan Kin-man, arrested for “unlawful assembly” in 2015. In March this year, the charges were changed to “public nuisance”, ambiguous charges with a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.



https://www.amnesty.org/es/latest/news/2017/09/hong-kong-freedom-of-expression-attack-peaceful-protesters-face-chilling-prosecutions/ (ESPANOL)


Hong Kong/China: Hong Kong’s Red Guards taste blood

September 22, 2017

The targeting of HKU professor and Occupy campaign co-founder Benny Tai is seen as part of a much wider attack on Hong Kong's civil society. Photo: Bloomberg

Should Hong Kong’s re-born Red Guards have their way and succeed in getting Benny Tai thrown out of the University of Hong Kong, does anyone seriously think they will stop there?

Of course not, as the increasingly hysterical campaign to get Tai dismissed from his post does not even seek to disguise that it is ideologically driven and targeted at the Occupy Movement co-founder not because of his actions but because of his ideas.

In other words Tai is guilty of the Orwellian-named ‘thought crime’. Naturally the slavering democracy baiters try and drape themselves in a rule of law garb but rather blow their cover by suggesting that because Tai is on trial for civil disobedience the verdict is irrelevant as he must be guilty, regardless of due process.

Then they drone on about how he and ‘those like him’ are poisoning the minds of students with their foreign-influenced ideas and lack of loyalty to the Motherland. Interestingly they take it for granted that Hong Kong students are both stupid and naïve enough to believe everything they are told, thus they need to be protected from ‘incorrect ideas’. (The real fear however is that they are quite bright enough to sort out things for themselves.)








Hong Kong/China: Sorry shouldn’t be the hardest word for Junius Ho

September 20, 2017

Junius Ho Kwan-yiu has become one of the most recognisable faces in the legislature, but not necessarily for the right reason. News stories have the government-friendly lawmaker quoted as saying pro-independence activists should be “killed”. And he wasn’t misquoted.

Ho was doing so well with his campaign in recent weeks to pressure the University of Hong Kong to sack Occupy co-founder and law lecturer Benny Tai Yiu-ting, by building up momentum and a following. Then three words tripped him up: “Kill without mercy.”

The occasion was a rally attended by thousands against Tai and those advocating Hong Kong independence on university campuses. Afterwards, Ho was in an agitated state, being surrounded by reporters as he went into a tirade against their being ignorant, stupid and biased.

“If Hong Kong independence advocates are subverting the fate of a country … why not kill them?” Ho asked. “‘To kill them without mercy’ means we deplore wrongdoers like our enemies.”

You can watch the widely circulated clip on YouTube and his own defence on his online channel. I am absolutely convinced he didn’t mean actually killing or murdering such activists.

To put the Chinese phrase in context, he probably meant they should be charged, jailed, fired from their jobs, kicked out of school, and/or hounded out of town, all done without mercy.

But even if he didn’t mean it literally, the metaphor came across as overly aggressive and violent.












Hong Kong/China: Occupy co-founder Benny Tai calls on Hongkongers to defy ‘sugar-coated authoritarianism’

September 16, 2017

Image result for Benny Tai

The co-founder of Hong Kong’s Occupy movement Benny Tai Yiu-ting vowed not to retreat if he were jailed and lost his university teaching post, while calling for civil society to stay strong in an era of “sugar-coated authoritarianism”.

“The power of an authoritarian system lies in forcing people to accept their fate and obey through threats and lies,” Tai said in an exclusive interview with the Post. “We have to respond with no fear, expose their lies and stay persistent in our fight.”

The University of Hong Kong associate professor of law is expected to attend a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday. He and fellow Occupy Central co-founders Reverend Chu Yiu-ming and Chinese University associate professor of sociology Dr Chan Kin-man face three charges relating to public nuisance over their roles in the civil disobedience movement of 2014. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

Even before the trial, Tai has seen a campaign to remove him from his post, an effort he likened it to the Cultural Revolution. Pro-establishment lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu planned on Sunday to organise a rally pushing for his dismissal.















Hong Kong/China: Scholars condemn pro-Beijing lawmaker’s calls to remove Occupy leader Benny Tai from HKU

September 11, 2017

benny tai

Over 250 scholars have signed a petition expressing “strong indignation” at pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho’s calls to remove Occupy leader Benny Tai from his teaching position at the University of Hong Kong. The petition says that Ho’s move was “unfair and biased.”

The petition came after Ho submitted a petition of more than 80,000 signatures urging the University of Hong Kong to investigate Tai, threatening public rallies and legal action should the school fail to act. Ho previously said it was contradictory for Tai to advocate for the spirit of civil disobedience while teaching students about defending the rule of law.

The initiators of the scholars’ petition said that academic freedom and freedom of speech are the cornerstones of a healthy society. They said that Ho’s demands to dismiss Tai may create enormous pressure for Tai and other scholars whose views differ from those in power, causing them to be unable to express their views without fear.





Hong Kong/China: Lawmaker threatens protests and legal action unless HKU investigates pro-democracy professor Benny Tai

September 7, 2017

benny tai

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho has submitted a petition of more 80,000 signatures to the University of Hong Kong (HKU), urging it to investigate pro-democracy law scholar Benny Tai.

Last month, Ho wrote to the university’s governing council saying it was contradictory for Tai – the co-founder of the original pro-democracy Occupy Central campaign – to advocate for the spirit of civil disobedience whilst also teaching students about defending the rule of law. Tai is an associate professor in the Department of Law.

Ho launched an online petition, which he claimed had gathered 80,623 signatures in a week. He said there were over 1,700 from the legal sector and 8,800 from the education sector. The names of the people who signed the petition were not made public.

“The school must face it, and consider it,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Legal threats

Ho, a lawyer himself, said he hoped the university would reply to him a week, otherwise he may consider holding a public rally and ultimately lodging a judicial review.

He said he was not intending to interfere with academic freedom and had no personal grudge against Tai.

“It is not about academic freedom at all. It may be easy for anyone to make up an excuse… on the contrary, we have seen ample evidence to show that Mr Tai himself had actively participate[d] in the Occupy Central movement, and that obviously was contrary to the role that he was supposed to be… just preaching the law,” Ho said.