Tag Archives: Hong Kong



Executive Summary

  • Article 6(2) of the ICESCR warrants the full realisation of the right to work, which includes providing “conditions safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedoms to the individual”
  • Concerning the right to work for foreign legal practitioners from other common-law jurisdictions, the HKSAR Government fails to provide valid reasons as to why they are welcomed to practise in the territory in other areas of law but to the exception of cases relating to the HKNSL
  • The HKSAR Government interferes with the enforcement of the norm by seeking intervention from China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, albeit the highest court in the city ruled against the HKSAR Government, as shown in the legal disputes concerning Jimmy Lai Chee-ying hiring a British barrister to represent him
  • The HKSAR fails to provide explanation on factors justifying the deviation from the norm and also deviation from the fulfilment of the right to work as stated in Article 6 of the ICESCR

With Reference to the Committee’s List of Issue (E/C.12/CHN-HKG/Q/4) and the corresponding Replies by Hong Kong, China (“HKSAR”) (E/C.12/CHN/RQ-HKG/4), this bulletin gathers and presents information regarding the restrictions on foreign lawyers to practise in cases relating to the Hong Kong National Security Law (“HKNSL”). The full realisation of lawyers’ economic right to work which is an integral part of the ICESCR as enshrined in Article 6 is concerned here.

Restricting lawyers’ economic rights to suppress their protection of the proper exercise of human rights

We strongly urge clarification from HKSAR on its compliance with its treaty obligations under the ICECSR despite the information and the established fact patterns above which suggest otherwise.








The 29 Principles, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School, American Association of the International Commission of Jurists, International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers, International Association of People’s Lawyers (Australian Branch), Taiwan Association for Human Rights, and Taipei Bar Association Human Rights Committee are calling on the Hong Kong government to respect the international norms and standards on judicial independence and legal representation in the case of media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying.

According to media reports on 10 January 2023, Jimmy Lai’s UK-based international legal team wrote to the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak requesting for an urgent meeting to discuss “potential ways to secure Mr Lai’s release” and they met with UK’s Minister for Asia Anne-Marie Trevelyan expressing concerns about Mr Lai being targeted by multiple prosecutions and lawsuits designed to silence opposition. Mr Lai’s UK lawyers took the actions as the Hong Kong and Chinese governments have been taking various steps to deprive Mr Lai’s right to a fair trial and his right to hire a lawyer of his own choosing.

On 28 November 2022, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee requested the Standing Committee of the Natinal People’s Congress (NPCSC) in Beijing to weigh in to interpret articles 14 and 47 of the Hong Kong National Security Law after the Hong Kong government lost its appeal  in Hong Kong’s top court – the Court of Final Appeal – where the court dismissed the Hong Kong government’s attempt  to prevent  British barrister Tim Owen KC, of Matrix Chambers, from representing Mr Lai at his trial, who is himself a British national. The top court in Hong Kong saw no merits in the Hong Kong government’s arguments in justifying the ban of Tim Owen KC.

On 30 December 2022, the NPCSC ruled that Hong Kong courts should obtain a certificate issued from Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee to certify whether an act involves national security.  The ruling by the NPCSC means that whether Mr Lai can instruct a foreign lawyer to represent him at his trial, scheduled on 25 September 2023, depends on the Hong Kong Chief Executive and the Committee for Safeguarding National Security’s sole discretion under the NSL. If the courts failed to obtain a certificate from the Chief Executive under Article 47 of the NSL, the Committee for Safeguarding National Security has the power to intervene and issue a legally binding directive to order the Courts and the Chief Executive to do so in accordance with Article 14 of the NSL. Such order is not amendable to judicial review. The Committee for Safeguarding National Security has directed the Hong Kong government to introduce amendments to the Legal Practitioners Ordinance as soon as possible so as to ban Mr Owen from representing Mr Lai.

The Hong Kong government’s decision to ask for Beijing’s intervention following Hong Kong’s top court’s decision and the NPCSC’s decision to require Hong Kong courts to obtain a certificate from Hong Kong’s Chief Executive violate the international standards on judicial independence, in particular the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary. The Hong Kong and Chinese governments’ actions have violated principle 4: “There shall not be any inappropriate or unwarranted interference with the judicial process, nor shall judicial decisions by the courts be subject to revision.”




China: Hong Kong activist’s London lawyers receive rape and death threats


Jailed Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and media mogul Jimmy Lai’s London-based international legal team have revealed they received rape and death threats which they allege were orchestrated by the Beijing authorities. 

Lai, 75, who is a British citizen, has been in jail since 2020 and faces a trial on national security charges for sedition and colluding with foreign forces, related to the work of his online newspaper Apple Daily. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in jail. 

Lai’s son Sebastian has been in London this week seeking an urgent meeting with prime minister Rishi Sunak to urge the British government to speak out in support of his father ahead of his trial in October. 

Caoilfhionne Gallagher KC, a barrister at London’s Doughty Street Chambers, who is part of Lai’s international legal team, revealed that she and others have received threats as part of what she said was the ‘extraterritorial targeting’ of those speaking out against his treatment. 

‘The Beijing and Hong Kong authorities are no longer content with attempting to simply silence their critics in their own border. They are now attempting to use the long arm of the state to try to silence critics wherever in the world it may be,’ Gallagher told a meeting at the Frontline Club last night. 

Gallagher said that she has received three rape threats, one death threat and ‘multiple spurious impersonating emails’ purporting to come from her.  

One bogus email purportedly sent from Gallagher to her colleagues at Doughty Street said that she had resigned from chambers because her work for Lai made her an enemy of the Chinese state and she was putting them all at risk. 








https://news-24.fr/le-fils-du-magnat-des-medias-de-hong-kong-emprisonne-jimmy-lai-critique-le-gouvernement-britannique-pour-ne-pas-avoir-denonce-la-chine-nouvelles-du-monde/ (FRANCAIS)


Lawyers exit Hong Kong as they face campaign of intimidation


Hong Kong’s human rights lawyers are fleeing abroad amid an effort to cleanse the city of dissent. The pressure is part of a wider crackdown by the ruling Communist Party on lawyers across China, say activists, legal scholars and diplomats.

Anonymous threats sent by text message and email. GPS tracking devices placed under a car, and Chinese “funeral money” sent to an office. Ambushes by reporters working for state-controlled media. Accusations of disloyalty in the press.

These are some of the methods deployed in a campaign of intimidation being waged against lawyers in Hong Kong who take on human rights cases, have criticized a China-imposed national security law or raised alarms about threats to the rule of law. While some of Hong Kong’s leading rights lawyers have been detained in the past two-and-a-half years, many others have become the target of a more insidious effort to cleanse the city of dissent – part of a wider crackdown by the ruling Communist Party on lawyers across China, say activists, legal scholars and diplomats.

Michael Vidler, one of the city’s top human rights lawyers, is among them. Vidler left Hong Kong in April, a couple of months after a judge named his law firm six times in a ruling that convicted four pro-democracy protesters on charges of illegal assembly and possession of unauthorized weapons. Vidler interpreted the judgment as “a call to action” on the city’s national security police “to investigate me,” he told Reuters in an interview last month in Europe. He asked that his location not be disclosed.

The event that precipitated his hasty departure, Vidler said, was the appearance of articles in the state-backed media in Hong Kong about him. One said he was the representative of an “anti-China” group. Within days, the British national left his home of three decades.

Vidler tried to make an inconspicuous exit. He sent a suitcase to a friend before flying out. On the day of departure, he met the friend with the suitcase and went to the airport. But on arriving, reporters from state-backed media outlets were waiting.

They “descended on me as a mob at the check-in counter, taking photos of my travel documents,” Vidler said. His last-minute flight plans were known only to his wife, the airline and immigration authorities, he said, which “clearly shows that this information was provided by official sources” to the media.

“This was in my view state-sponsored intimidation and harassment,” said Vidler, whose wife and children later left Hong Kong. A government spokesman called Vidler’s characterization of events “baseless and erroneous.”

Other high-profile departures include former Bar Association chairman Paul Harris. He left his home of decades for England hours after being called in for questioning by national security police. Harris, too, was hounded by reporters from state-backed outlets at the airport as he departed.

The intimidation is having a broad chilling effect, as less prominent lawyers also flee the city. A major catalyst is Hong Kong’s national security law, which was imposed in June 2020, after a wave of anti-government protests shook the city the previous year. The law includes life sentences for vaguely worded offenses such as subversion, secession and collusion with foreign forces. Facing or fearing prosecution under the law, or concerned about threats to Hong Kong’s freedoms, many lawyers and legal academics have quietly departed, mostly to Britain, Australia and North America.




Lawyers supporting protestors in China targeted by authorities


Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about reports of lawyers being targeted by the Chinese state security police. The lawyers have been providing pro bono legal advice to people arrested during the recent anti-lockdown protests.

In the past few weeks, peaceful protests have started in a number of cities in China. The protests were triggered by the mourning of the victims who passed away during a lockdown fire in Urumqi, but have developed into a protest against the Chinese zero-COVID policy that has led to very strict lockdown measures and overall discontent with the repressive regime. The Chinese government has responded to the protests by arresting large numbers of protesters.

Several lawyers have been providing legal services to those arrested during the protests. It has been reported that local authorities and state police have attempted to interfere with the lawyers’ attempts to provide legal services. Lawyers have been warned to drop certain cases by local authorities and have been questioned by state security police. One lawyer, Wang Shengsheng, reportedly stated that she and her colleagues have received threatening phonecalls and that state security police has been investigating her.

Human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng, recently released from prison, is currently not involved in the defense of the arrested protesters for fear of political reprisals. Yet, Yu states he is happy to see China’s remaining rights lawyers stand up for the protesters but worries that the lawyers will end up getting arrested in another ‘709 crackdown’.

Lawyers have a special role with regards to protests. In his report of June 2021, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association stated that “lawyers and legal practitioners play a crucial role in helping to ensure full respect for the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and access to justice. They do so (…) by working to ensure that individuals and groups are protected against violations and abuses; by holding those responsible for rights violations to account; by pursuing remedies for those whose human rights have been violated in the context of assemblies; and by promoting structural changes oriented towards the reform of rights violating systems”.

Lawyers for Lawyers is concerned about the chilling effect caused by the harassment of the authorities on the Chinese lawyers defending the protesters and the impact this might have on the effective legal protection of the protesters.








China: Hong Kong activist who staged Tiananmen vigil has conviction overturned


Hong Kong’s top court has overturned the conviction of an activist who tried to stage a Tiananmen Square vigil last year, finding police acted unlawfully.

Lawyer Chow Hang-tung – who was jailed in January – will remain in custody as she faces two other charges under the city’s national security law.

But she won her appeal against her “unauthorised assembly” conviction on Wednesday,

A judge ruled the police hadn’t properly justified the vigil’s ban.

Hong Kong authorities have cited Covid restrictions as the reason for its ban on Tiananmen vigils since 2020.

The city used to be one of the only sites on Chinese territory where authorities allowed tributes.

Ms Chow was arrested in June 2021 for “inciting” the public to take part in that year’s vigil. She had led the Hong Kong Alliance, a group which had organised the annual demonstrations and that year she posted articles on social media and on news sites urging Hong Kongers to turn out or light a candle in tribute.

At her trial in January this year, she was jailed for encouraging the assembly in breach of Covid laws.

Magistrate Amy Chan said she had been “self righteous” in “completely disregarding the law to think that the freedom of assembly was more important than public health”.

However a High Court judge on Wednesday found police had not properly explored the options for how the demonstration could have gone ahead in a Covid-safe manner.








https://www.dw.com/zh/%E9%82%B9%E5%B9%B8%E5%BD%A4%E8%B5%A2%E5%BE%97%E4%B8%8A%E8%AF%89-%E8%8E%B7%E5%88%A4%E6%92%A4%E9%94%80%E5%AE%9A%E7%BD%AA%E5%8F%8A%E5%88%A4%E5%88%91/a-64094262 (CHINESE)


https://www.france24.com/fr/asie-pacifique/20221214-hong-kong-interdire-une-veill%C3%A9e-pour-tiananmen-est-ill%C3%A9gal-juge-un-tribunal (FRANCAIS)


https://www.amnesty.fr/liberte-d-expression/petitions/10jps2022-chow-hang-tung-hong-kong (SIGNEZ S.V.P.!)

https://www.rfi.fr/es/m%C3%A1s-noticias/20221214-tribunal-de-hong-kong-declara-ilegal-veda-a-vigilia-por-matanza-de-tiananmen (ESPANOL)

https://br.noticias.yahoo.com/tribunal-hk-determina-que-proibi%C3%A7%C3%A3o-122937586.html (PORTUGUES)

China: Famous lawyer Yu Wensheng: released from prison, but no different from lock up


Renowned human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng was released in March of this year after serving four years in prison for proposing to amend the Constitution and demanding that the government respect human rights.

According to RFA’s exclusive interview with Yu, despite being released, Yu and his wife are still under close surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Before and after European Council President Charles Michel’s visit to China on December 1, the Yu family was put on a week-long stay-at-home lockdown by the authorities because of pandemic prevention.

Yu Wensheng said that after serving his prison term, he took a break to heal the physical and mental injuries resulting from the horrific four years of prison.

He shared that the days of having to live in cold and hungry conditions in prison have caused his old illnesses to recur, and so far, his hand still can’t hold a pen.

Yu also confided that he regretted that the prison prevented him from seeing his father one last time. His father passed away more than a month before he left the prison.

Yu said he still has to comply with three years deprived of his political rights. His wife has also been restricted from leaving the country since 2018.

Yu said that his family could not leave China at the moment. For him, life right now is basically the same as when he was in prison.

Yu Wensheng and many other lawyers had active human rights protection activities before being arrested. He said that the lawyers who joined him were all suppressed by Chinese authorities.








https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/zh/case/human-rights-lawyer-chang-weiping-secret-detention-denied-access-lawyers (CHINESE)

https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/uk-new-12092022051314.html#.Y5NKvPsVgHI.twitter (CANTONESE)

Authorities in China target volunteer lawyers helping anti-lockdown protesters


State security police seek out lawyers who offered to represent detained anti-lockdown protesters pro bono.

State security police across China have been questioning lawyers who volunteered to help people arrested during recent anti-lockdown protests, with some withdrawing from the scheme due to political pressure from the authorities, Radio Free Asia has learned.

Chinese human rights lawyers have been scrambling to assist the friends and families of people arrested during a wave of anti-lockdown protests at the end of November, many of whom have little experience being treated as dissidents by Chinese authorities.

Lawyer Wang Shengsheng, who compiled and published a list of dozens of attorneys offering to volunteer to help people detained for protesting China’s “zero-COVID” restrictions or mourning the victims of a Nov. 24 lockdown fire in Xinjiang’s regional capital, Urumqi, said state security police had starting investigating her after she started helping detained protesters.

Wang, who hails from the central city of Zhengzhou but works for a law firm based in the southern city of Guangzhou, said the city’s justice bureau had turned up at her law firm and taken away all of the files linked to previous cases she has represented.

“They sent people from the judicial bureau’s [Communist Party] committee,” she told RFA on Tuesday. “They were checking whether my records were in order, for example, we need to sign a contract when taking a new case, and issue a receipt when we receive our fees.”

“They’re trying to find some [error] they can pick up on, also whether or not I have taken any politically sensitive cases,” Wang said. “They are deliberately trying to catch me making a mistake.”

“The reason behind it was the fact that I offered pro bono legal advice … I don’t know why they think that was such a bad thing to do that they need to put pressure on me via my law firm,” she said, adding that the state security police had also contacted her.

“The Zhengzhou state security police came looking for me, because I’m in Zhengzhou right now,” Wang said.











China’s rights lawyers volunteer to help wave of lockdown protest detainees


Chinese human rights lawyers have been scrambling to assist the friends and families of people arrested during a wave of anti-lockdown protests over the weekend, many of whom have little experience being treated as dissidents by Chinese authorities.

“So many people have been calling,” attorney Wang Shengsheng told RFA on Tuesday. “Our phones were blowing up because people had lost contact with their friends, and we found that people had been taken away in many different places, including Shanghai, Beijing, Ningbo, Kunming, Yunnan and Guizhou.”

The rush of calls came after Wang and nine other lawyers published a list of attorneys offering to volunteer to help people detained for protesting China’s “zero-COVID” restrictions or mourning the victims of a Nov. 24 lockdown fire in Xinjiang’s regional capital, Urumqi.

“The main reason [for their being detained] was that they had paid their respects to the victims of the fire in Xinjiang,” Wang said. “They would express their condolences or empathy by holding up a blank sheet of paper, only to be very quickly detained.

“Some people couldn’t understand why this had happened, and were shocked and hurt —  they never thought they could come to any harm,” she said.

Wang said the lawyers had also received a number of threatening phone calls, with unidentified callers warning them “not to be taken advantage of.”

‘I want to thank them’

The ruling Chinese Communist Party, faced with the biggest challenge to its rule in decades, is saying that the “white paper” protests are the work of “foreign forces” infiltrating China, a notion that has been met with widespread derision among protesters and social media users. 

Some lawyers declined to take part in the volunteer network, believing they would risk losing their license to practice law by participating, as happened to many attorneys who spoke up in favor of human rights, or helped political dissidents and other marginalized groups considered a stability risk by authorities. 

“A fellow lawyer said it wasn’t appropriate and reminded me of the risks, but … I just want to provide them with whatever help I can,” Wang said. “If I didn’t, I would regret it hugely … because these people stood up to express something, not for themselves [but for others].”

“I want to thank them and … do anything in my power to support them at this time, or I wouldn’t be able to live with myself,” she said.













https://www.bbc.com/afrique/monde-63675252 (FRANCAIS)



China repression: The families who have left loved ones behind


Geng He has suffered persecution, surveillance and the break-up of her family, all simply because of the man she married. Her story reveals the dark side of China under its leader Xi Jinping, who has just secured a third term in office.

Geng He remembers exactly where she was when she became aware of the overwhelming power of the Chinese state: she was in a beauty salon in Beijing, where she’d taken her daughter, Grace, to have her hair cut.

Suddenly, dozens of people barged in and told the mother and daughter to go with them. It was the secret police.

At first, Geng He didn’t understand what was going on – or who the people were. She asked if they could finish the haircut first. No, came the reply. There were more officers in the street outside; others were waiting for them at their apartment block.

“I looked around and – wow – the first floor and then the second floor were crammed with people,” she told me.

The couple’s apartment was searched, and Geng He was told that her husband had been arrested while visiting his sister in Shandong province, a few hours south of the capital.

It was 2006 and the beginning of the end of their life as a family.

Geng He’s husband, Gao Zhisheng, was a lawyer. He had once been feted by the communist government, but then he started defending people the authorities didn’t want defending.











https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gao_Zhisheng (FRANCAIS)

https://www.radiotelevisionmarti.com/a/china-disidente-carcel-visita-familia-derechos-humanos/18755.html (ESPANOL)