Members of several political parties yesterday expressed support for Hong Kong democracy activists facing repression as the International Monitor of Hong Kong Civil and Political Rights Action Group released its first report on civil and political rights in Hong Kong on the 21st anniversary of the territory’s handover to China.
Beijing promised to maintain the “one country, two systems” framework prior to the territory’s handover from Britain in 1997, but continued attempts by the authorities to restrict Hong Kongers’ freedom of speech, as well as civil and political rights, suggest otherwise, Leung Man-to (梁文韜), a member of the group and a political science professor at National Cheng Kung University, told a joint news conference.
The report details the way in which the Chinese government has contravened the framework, preventing pro-independence Hong Kongers from running in elections and ousting two legally elected lawmakers, Sixtus “Baggio” Leung (梁頌恆) and Yau Wai-ching (游蕙禎).
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
Although Beijing has described Hong Kong’s political issues as China’s internal affairs, the territory is governed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it adopted in 1991 when it was under British rule, Leung Man-to said.
To promote more discussions and collaboration on the territory’s human rights conditions, the group would continue to hold meetings with political groups, academics, activists and civil groups from around the world, and issue more reports, he said.
“Hong Kong is slowly becoming what Taiwan used to be. Things are very bad in terms of human rights and freedom of speech,” Hong Kong Nationalist Party convener Andy Chan (陳浩天) said.
Due to his pro-independence stance, he was banned from running in elections in 2016, as well as participating in rallies, raising funds, opening a bank account or even applying for credit cards, he said.
Beijing wants to destroy Hong Kongers’ self-determination and way of life, New Power Party spokesman Lee Chao-li (李兆立) said.
“The way it has bullied Hong Kongers and ousted their lawmakers shows that it has neither confidence nor integrity. Its promise of maintaining the ‘status quo’ must not be trusted,” Lee said.
Taoyuan City Councilor and Green Party Taiwan convener Wang Hao-yu (王浩宇), Social Democratic Party convener Fan Yun (范雲), Taiwan Solidarity Union member and former lawmaker Chou Ni-an (周倪安), and Flanc Radical member Ho Cheng-hui (何澄輝) also attended the news conference.
Participants jointly condemned Beijing and the Hong Kong government for cracking down on political dissidents and demanded that they release all political prisoners.
They also called on the Taiwanese government and the international community to show support for and assist Hong Kong democracy activists facing repression.
Sixtus Leung, who was released on bail after he was convicted of unlawful assembly in May, was unable to attend, but issued a statement.
Over the past several years, more than 100 Hong Kongers have faced persecution due to their dissenting views, he said.
“While the youngest of them was 15, the oldest was over 70. Most of them do not belong to any parties and are in dire need of support,” he added.
He urged Taiwanese to learn from Hong Kong and “never let Taiwan, which is still enjoying freedom and democracy, to fall into the hands of authoritarian China.”
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