Tag Archives: Hong Kong

Hong Kong police file complaints to lawyer groups over national security case

12/05/22

Hong Kong police said on Thursday they had filed complaints to the city’s main professional legal bodies over a national security case involving a fund that had assisted pro-democracy protesters to pay for legal services.

Five trustees of the now-disbanded 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund were arrested by police this week, including Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90, one of the most senior Catholic clerics in Asia; and leading senior barrister Margaret Ng, 74.

The five were arrested for suspected “conspiracy to collude with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” under a China-imposed national security law, and released on bail.

The police said its investigations had “revealed that a number of solicitors and barristers were suspected of professional misconduct when providing legal services” without giving names or specifics.

Complaints were lodged to the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Hong Kong Law Society, police added.

Neither body replied to a Reuters request for comment.

The others arrested are pop singer Denise Ho, former academic Hui Po-keung and former lawmaker Cyd Ho. The national security law, enacted in June 2020, punishes crimes such as subversion, terrorism, secession and collusion with foreign forces, with up to life imprisonment. nL2N2X31EL]

Zen, Ng and the others have been forceful advocates of fundamental rights in Hong Kong. Critics of the security law say it erodes the freedoms promised by China under a “one country, two systems” arrangement when Hong Kong was returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

[…]

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/hong-kong-police-file-complaints-to-lawyer-groups-over-national-security-case/47588614

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/hong-kong-police-file-complaints-lawyer-groups-over-national-security-case-2022-05-12/

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/2022/hong-kongs-cardinal-zen-90-arrested-with-three-others

https://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/

Hong Kong national security police arrest prominent barrister Margaret Ng

11/05/22

Hong Kong national security police have arrested prominent barrister Margaret Ng and Cardinal Joseph Zen, HKFP has learned. Singer-activist Denise Ho has also been arrested, local media report.

The four helped run the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which aided thousands of protesters during the 2019 unrest by providing legal assistance, funds for psychological counselling and medical treatment and emergency relief.

Legal sources told HKFP on Wednesday that Ng and 90-year-old Zen were arrested a day after cultural studies scholar Hui Po-keung was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport.

They stand accused of colluding with foreign forces.

Last September, the police cited potential national security violations and served a court order to the fund, requesting information on its operations and financial transactions. Local media reported at the time that the documents included bank account details, donor information and details of the fund recipients.

[…]

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220511-hong-kong-defence-fund-trustee-arrested-at-airport-sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Ng

https://www.la-croix.com/Monde/Le-cardinal-Joseph-Zen-arrete-rafle-eclair-Hong-Kong-2022-05-11-1201214609 (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Ng

https://www.prealpina.it/pages/hong-kong-media-arrestato-il-cardinale-joseph-zen-276489.html (ITALIANO)

USA: Commissioners Urge a UN Committee on Torture Review of China

21/04/22

Commissioners from the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) released today a letter to Mr. Claude Heller, the Chair of the United Nations Committee Against Torture urging him to not delay a robust review of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) because of the PRC’s failure to submit its country report in a timely manner. The Commissioners note that the “human rights situation in China has demonstrably worsened since the Committee’s last review in 2015, particularly in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region” and remind the Committee Against Torture Chair that the Committee has the power to move ahead with a review without a country report.

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), the CECC’s Chair and Cochair respectively, were joined on the letter by fellow CECC Commissioners Representative Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Representative Thomas Suozzi (D-NY). The letter includes information about the torture and ill-treatment of individuals detained in China drawn from the CECC’s 2021 Annual Report on human rights conditions in the PRC.  An Executive Summary of the 2021 Annual Report can also be downloaded.

The full text of the letter is below and here

[…]

In the 2015 Concluding Observations, the Committee expressed serious concerns “over consistent reports indicating that the practice of torture and ill-treatment is still deeply entrenched in the criminal justice system, which overly relies on confessions as the basis for convictions.” In addition, former detainees, including those of mass internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), have documented the prevalence of torture in extrajudicial detention facilities in recent years. Regrettably, credible reports postdating the Concluding Observations continue to show that torture and ill-treatment of detainees at the hands of Chinese government officials have not abated. To give but a few recent examples—

[…]

In October 2020, authorities in Baoji municipality, Shaanxi province, detained lawyer Chang Weiping a second time in one year not long after he accused authorities of having tortured him during the earlier detention in January 2020. Chang has been legal counsel in health discrimination lawsuits, among others. Chang’s detention is linked to a civil society meeting held in Xiamen municipality, Fujian province, in December 2019. Authorities also detained and reportedly tortured lawyer Ding Jiaxi and legal expert Xu Zhiyong in connection to their participation in the Xiamen meeting.

[…]

https://www.cecc.gov/media-center/press-releases/commissioners-urge-a-un-committee-on-torture-review-of-china

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/04/19/un-high-commissioner-must-uphold-principled-and-coherent-response-chinas-human

Ongoing concerns on the situation in Hong Kong and the independence of the Bar Association

14/04/22

Lawyers for Lawyers has previously raised concerns on the position of lawyers in Hong Kong after the National Security Law (NSL) has entered into force on 1 July 2020. The NSL has been in place for almost two years now. Lawyers for Lawyers has growing concerns about the situation of lawyers in Hong Kong and the independence of the Bar Association in Hong Kong in connection to the NSL.

The NSL criminalizes acts that China deems challenging to its authority. This includes acts of secession and collusion with foreign forces. We were informed that the charges under the NSL are loosely defined and open to interpretation. The NSL creates offenses that fall under the laws of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), rather than under the laws of Hong Kong.

Recently, UK judges withdrew from the Hong Kong Court of final appeal, concerned that their continued participation in the Hong Kong judiciary would appear as an endorsement of the current “department from values of political freedom and freedom of expression”. Judges of the UK Supreme Court had sat on the Hong Kong final court of appeal since 1997, when Hong Kong was returned to China.

According to some Hong Kong lawyers, the NSL has infringed upon Hong Kong’s autonomy and the NSL exposes Hong Kong lawyers to a possible crackdown on human rights defenders, similar to those taking place in China since 2015. The last two years, the NSL has indeed had a chilling effect on lawyers in Hong Kong in the last years. Many lawyers involved in human rights cases have discontinued their work or even left Hong Kong out of fear of repercussions.

[…]

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-02/hong-kong-ex-bar-chair-flees-city-after-police-probe-media-says

https://www.finews.asia/people/36634-u-k-judges-resign-from-hong-kong-s-top-court

https://www.reuters.com/world/china/hong-kong-leader-rejects-barrister-nominee-sensitive-judges-panel-appoints-2022-03-25/

Famed blind lawyer Joy Luk has fled Hong Kong and wants refugee status in Canada

31/01/22

Joy Luk is a Hong Kong lawyer who fought for disabled people and anti-government protesters. She has recently arrived in Canada and is asking to be allowed to stay.

From her apartment in Toronto, famed Hong Kong lawyer Joy Luk says she wants to apologize to her family — one she doesn’t think she’ll ever visit again in her beloved hometown.

Luk, who is blind, rose to notoriety fighting for people with disabilities and helping pro-democracy protesters on the front lines of demonstrations in Hong Kong in 2019 with instant legal counsel. Images of Luk, a bullhorn hanging off her shoulder, grabbed attention around the world during those protests.

But on Dec. 20, after about 10 minutes of questioning by authorities, the 44-year-old took a morning flight out of the city to South Korea and on to Toronto, where she says she intends to stay. Luk has applied for refugee status, pointing to harassment by authorities in Hong Kong over her political activism and fears for her safety there.

Her decision has been kept a secret until today.

“I would like to say sorry to my family members there. I will put them in trouble,” Luk told the Star, “because of my active participation in this campaign for freedom in Hong Kong.”

Luk’s grandfather swam to freedom from mainland China to Hong Kong with his family, including her father who was not yet 10 years old at the time, in the 1950s. Her grandfather told her the Chinese Communist Party is not trustworthy, and she holds the family’s story close with her belief that freedom and democracy are a core value for humanity.

Monday, the day she reveals her intent to stay in Canada, is the first anniversary of her father’s death.

Now, with many of her friends in jail or having been arrested — including Canadian singer Denise Ho — for their involvement in the pro-democracy movement, Luk said she comes to Canada under a shadow of sadness.

In Hong Kong, Luk fought for better accessibility for people with disabilities before unrest in the city grew into massive protests against laws that opponents charged would be used to silence critics of Beijing and breach the autonomy guaranteed to the region by the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which laid out the stipulations of Hong Kong’s handover to mainland China in 1997.

But she said she has no intention of settling into a quiet life and is vowing not only to continue her fight for Hong Kong’s civil rights, but also to expose the Chinese Communist Party’s influence campaigns in Canada.

[…]

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2022/01/31/famed-blind-lawyer-joy-luk-has-fled-hong-kong-and-wants-refugee-status-in-canada.html

https://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/ts/news/canada/2022/01/31/famed-blind-lawyer-joy-luk-has-fled-hong-kong-and-wants-refugee-status-in-canada.html

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/chinese-human-rights-lawyer-detained-for-inciting-state-subversion-police-2716858

https://thehill.com/news-by-subject/foreign-policy/590370-china-detains-high-profile-activists-ahead-of-olympics

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2022-01-20/review-unsilenced-chinese-censorship-leon-lee-sam-trammell

China: Hong Kong lawyer gets 15-month sentence for Facebook ‘incitement’

04/01/22

A Hong Kong barrister was sentenced to 15 months in jail on Tuesday for using social media to incite people to attend a banned vigil remembering the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.

Authorities last year, for the second time in a row, banned the city’s annual June 4th memorial for the mainland Chinese student protesters who were killed in the violence. Police cited COVID-19 concerns, while critics argued it was part of a wider campaign to suppress memories of the event.

Chow Hang-tung, 36, who represented herself in court, was accused of incitement in connection with two articles published on Facebook and in a local newspaper, ahead of the 2021 commemoration.

In the newspaper article, the title of which said Hong Kong people “persevere in telling the truth,” she concluded by writing, “At 8 p.m., I hope to see your candlelights,” without specifying where.

In her defense, Chow had argued that the article called for candles to be lit anywhere — not specifically at the vigil. She added that her detention restricted her freedom of speech.

But magistrate Amy Chan said in her judgment that Chow’s acts were “calculated and planned, and that she was determined to attract as much public attention as possible, to exert influence and to leave a deep impression on other people.”

Chow is already serving a 12-month sentence after she was found guilty last year with seven other activists, including media tycoon Jimmy Lai, for similar charges of attending and inciting others to join the unauthorized vigil in 2020.

[…]

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Hong-Kong-security-law/Hong-Kong-lawyer-gets-15-month-sentence-for-Facebook-incitement

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/4/hong-kongs-chow-hang-tung-convicted-in-2nd-tiananmen-vigil-case

https://www.france24.com/en/asia-pacific/20220104-hong-kong-democracy-activist-chow-hang-tung-jailed-again-over-tiananmen-vigil

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chow_Hang-tung

https://www.france24.com/fr/asie-pacifique/20220104-hong-kong-chow-hang-tung-condamn%C3%A9e-%C3%A0-15-mois-de-prison-pour-une-veill%C3%A9e-pour-tiananmen (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2022/01/04/hongkong-la-militante-chow-hang-tung-condamnee-une-seconde-fois-pour-avoir-incite-a-commemorer-la-repression-de-la-place-tiananmen_6108140_3210.html

https://www.infobae.com/america/mundo/2022/01/04/el-regimen-chino-sentencio-por-segunda-vez-a-una-ex-lider-de-la-vigilia-de-tiananmen-en-hong-kong-a-15-meses-de-carcel/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/una-activista-de-hong-kong–condenada-por-segunda-vez-por-una-vigilia-por-tiananmen/47236360

https://www.rainews.it/articoli/2022/01/hong-kong-15-mesi-a-chow-hang-tung-lorganizzatrice-della-veglia-di-tiananmen–5ce9c7c1-52dd-4151-9b90-788283622d02.html (ITALIANO)

May be an image of 1 person and text that says "What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist. Salman Rushdie AZQUOTES"

The Spring Breeze Is Bound to Cause Ripples: A New Year Statement by The China Human Rights Lawyers Group

01/01/22

China Change Logo

In 1925, the 26-year-old poet and political dissident Wen Yiduo (闻一多) wrote in his poem titled “Dead Water”:

Here is a ditch of doomed, dead water
No spring breeze can stir up even half a ripple

In 1946, Wen was assassinated on the streets of Kunming by military security officers of the Kuomintang that ruled China at the time.

When Western powers showed up at the gates of China — first with trading ships, then with vessels of war — the vast empire was finally awakened from its millennia-long slumber and forced to confront the world. The wise and prescient were compelled to walk the path of modernity; generation after generation endeavored to find newer and better ways of building China into a powerful, wealthy country. However, bringing reform to a country that has had thousands of years of continuous imperial government has been a task fraught with huge challenges. Though many were filled with desire for change and worked tirelessly to beat a path, their efforts have been, time and again, thwarted by those in power. The failed experience of China’s reform project over the last century tells us that it’s not “backwardness” itself which leads to being bullied; rather, it’s the stubborn attachment to backward ways, the refusal to adopt advanced methods of governance, and the rejection of universal values that are the true cause of our suffering.

Wen Yiduo’s poem was an anguished cry amid the desperate and hopeless situation that a weakened China faced in the mid-1920s. Throughout the course of a century since then, this desperation stalked the Chinese people like a shadow.

In January 2021, human rights lawyers Lu Siwei (卢思位) and Ren Quanniu (任全牛) were disbarred by the Departments of Justice in Sichuan and Henan respectively. Early the next month, lawyer Xi Xiangdong (袭祥栋) was disbarred by the Shandong provincial Department of Justice. In October, the Beijing municipal Justice Bureau unlawfully revoked the license of Lin Qilei (蔺其磊); prior to that the Beijing Ruikai Law Firm that he directed was shut down on January 4.

On February 14, Zhang Pancheng (张盼成) — a youth from rural Gansu Province and a former security guard at Peking University — was arrested again shortly after release from prison, and has reportedly been handed a three-year prison sentence. It’s unclear what crime he was charged with. 

On May 18, economics professor Yang Zhaozheng (杨绍政), who was “expelled” from Guizhou University, was secretly detained, arrested, and placed in residential surveillance at a designated location (RSDL) on the charge of subversion of state power. On May 28, Guangdong dissident Wang Aizhong (王爱忠) was arrested for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” (寻衅滋事罪).

[…]

China: World-renowned rights defender held again in Hong Kong clampdown

29/12/21

IBAHRI on Twitter: "World-renowned rights defender, Dr Margaret Ng, held  again in #HongKong clampdown. #Barrister #lawyers #journalists #China  #FreedomOfSpeech #FreedomofExpression #freedomofpress #HumanRights Read  Michael Cross @lawsocgazette article ...

Barrister and journalist Dr Margaret Ng, a recipient of the International Bar Association’s award for outstanding contribution to human rights, is among seven people arrested today in Hong Kong’s latest clampdown on critical voices. Ng is already under a one-year suspended prison sentence passed earlier this year for her alleged role in pro-democracy protests.

According to local media, Ng was arrested at 6am as more than 200 police raided homes and the offices of Stand News, an independent news website. Stand’s former and acting editors, as well as singer Denise Ho, were among those arrested.

In an apparent nod to international criticism of Beijing’s imposition of mainland Chinese laws on the territory, a police statement said today’s arrests were made under the colonial-era Crimes Ordinance. The wide-ranging measure, last revised in 1972, creates an offence of conspiracy to print or distribute seditious materials. Ng would face up to two years in prison if convicted. 

In a press conference covered by the Hong Kong Free Press, a senior police officer said that Stand News had published ’seditious materials’ following the enactment of the Beijing-imposed National Security Law last June ‘with intent to cause hatred towards the government, the judiciary and cause discontent among the public’. 

The clampdown has been widely condemned. Grace Leung, a lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who specialises in media regulation and policies, told the Financial Times that it extends the ’chilling effect’ on journalism in the region. 

Cambridge-educated Ng, called to the bar in 1988, is a former member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong and a veteran campaigner for democracy. In 2019 she was named as joint winner of the International Bar Association’s annual award for outstanding contribution by a legal practitioner to human rights. Earlier this year she was given a suspended prison sentence after pleading not guilty to charges of organising and participating in an unauthorised assembly. 

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/world-renowned-rights-defender-held-again-in-hong-kong-clampdown/5111029.article

https://calgaryherald.com/news/world/latest-assaut-on-hong-kong-freedom-of-press-is-condemned-by-u-n-germany?r

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Ng

https://fr.news.yahoo.com/hong-kong-six-personnes-li%C3%A9es-065534152.html (FRANCAIS)

https://rsf.org/fr/actualites/six-mois-apres-apple-daily-lexecutif-hongkongais-elimine-stand-news-un-autre-symbole-de-la-liberte

https://www.france24.com/fr/info-en-continu/20211229-hong-kong-un-m%C3%A9dia-local-perquisitionn%C3%A9-6-personnes-arr%C3%AAt%C3%A9es-pour-publication-s%C3%A9ditieuse

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Ng

https://www.elmostrador.cl/noticias/multimedia/2021/12/29/arrestan-en-hong-kong-a-directivos-del-diario-digital-stand-news/ (ESPANOL)

https://www.corriere.it/esteri/21_dicembre_29/hong-kong-sito-stand-news-chiude-arrestati-giornalisti-amministratori-264d2982-6885-11ec-b54e-d173b9021fcd.shtml (ITALIANO)

https://www.amnesty.nl/actueel/verslechtering-persvrijheid-in-hong-kong-na-arrestaties (NEDERLANDS)

Hong Kong: Arrests under security law are serious concern, UN experts call for review 

12/10/21

Hong Kong, Chine. Le 05septembre 2021. Les vice-présidentes de l'Alliance  de Hong Kong pour le soutien des mouvements démocratiques patriotiques de  Chine Chow Hang-Tung ont publiquement rejeté la demande d'information de la

UN human rights experts* expressed deep concern about the arrest of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and woman human rights defender Chow Hang-Tung on charges of “incitement to subversion” and being a foreign agent, and urged authorities to refrain from the use of the National Security Law and reconsider its application.

Ms. Chow, a human rights lawyer, was arrested on 8 September 2021. She was a member of the Hong Kong Alliance, an advocacy group which organised the annual candlelight vigil marking the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square. Several other activists have been similarly arrested and charged under the National Security Law.

“Terrorism and sedition charges are being improperly used to stifle the exercise of fundamental rights, which are protected under international law, including freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of peaceful assembly and the right to participate in public affairs,” the experts said.

The experts have communicated in detailed written analysis their concerns to the Government of the People’s Republic of China about the National Security Law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region highlighting the law’s fundamental incompatibility with international law and with China’s human rights obligations.

The experts also raised their concerns over the qualification of “foreign agent” under the National Security Law, in which reference is made to funding received from foreign governments and activities benefitting them. The experts called on the Government to ensure that associations can seek, receive and use funding from foreign or international sources, without undue impediments.

[…]

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/10/1102882

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/chow-hang-tung

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chow_Hang-tung

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/artist-10132021122322.html

https://www.rfi.fr/cn/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD/20211012-%E8%81%94%E5%90%88%E5%9B%BD%E4%BA%BA%E6%9D%83%E4%B8%93%E5%AE%B6%E5%AF%B9%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E6%A0%B9%E6%8D%AE%E5%9B%BD%E5%AE%89%E6%B3%95%E5%AE%9E%E6%96%BD%E9%80%AE%E6%8D%95%E8%A1%A8%E8%BE%BE%E5%85%B3%E5%88%87 (CHINESE)

https://www.notimerica.com/politica/noticia-china-onu-pide-hong-kong-reconsidere-ley-seguridad-nacional-20211013075949.html (ESPANOL)

Canada: LSO should speak out on behalf of Hong Kong lawyers: Bencher Chi-Kun Shi

06/10/21

LSO should speak out on behalf of Hong Kong lawyers: Bencher Chi-Kun Shi

The profession should be inspired by the heroism of these lawyers and honour them, Shi says

With the Law Society of Ontario’s commitment to monitor human rights violations that targeting members of the legal profession, bencher and trial lawyer Chi-Kun Shi wants the LSO to act on behalf of Hong Kong lawyers who uphold and defend the rule of law but face human rights violations in China.

 The LSO often writes letters to foreign governments opining on the rule of law and human rights, and Shi says that intervening for Hong Kong lawyers and paralegals in China honours their courage and sends a signal that they are supported and remembered.

 The LSO wrote a letter to President Xi Jinping and Chief Executive Carrie Lam in May 2021 condemning the human rights violations of legal professionals and unjust sentencing of lawyers Dr. Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, Martin Lee Chu-ming and Albert Ho Chun-yan for participating in “unauthorized protests” in April 2020.

The letter urged the president to comply with China’s international human rights laws, including the United Nation’s universal declaration of human rights.

 “The recent convictions and unjust sentencing of lawyers and pro-democracy advocates lawyers Dr. Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, Martin Lee Chu-ming and Albert Ho Chun-yan underscore the continuing assault on freedom of expression and right to assembly in Hong Kong. Arresting and charging lawyers and other human rights defenders who have engaged in peaceful assembly and advocacy creates a dangerous standard for all those who work to promote and defend human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong.”

 The LSO asked for the immediate and unconditional release of Ngoi-yee, Chu-ming and Chun-yan, the dismissal of their convictions and assurance that all lawyers, paralegals and human rights defenders can carry out their professional duties without fear of reprisals and physical violence.

Shi says she hopes the LSO will act within its power, “walk the talk,” and grant honorary LSO membership to Ngoi-yee, Chu-ming and Chun-yan. She intended to bring forward the motion for honorary membership on October 1 convocation but says she withdrew the motion to rework it. 

“Instead of singling out three people who has illuminated the legal profession, I would like to include all the unsung heroes, lawyers and paralegals in Hong Kong who have stepped up in face of tyranny to defend our shared value of rule of law,” she says.

For example, “the young lawyers who jumped into taxis to follow paddy wagons to police station to represent the demonstrators arrested. They would want to be remembered.”

[…]

https://www.lawtimesnews.com/resources/professional-regulation/lso-should-speak-out-on-behalf-of-hong-kong-lawyers-bencher-chi-kun-shi/360507

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/group-09212021150247.html