Free Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and Ivan Lam, repeal Hong Kong’s undemocratic laws

10/12/2020
Statement

On December 2, Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts sentenced pro-democracy activists Agnes Chow, Joshua Wong, and Ivan Lam to jail for their alleged role in a demonstration outside the police headquarters during the 2019 anti-extradition bill protests. The three pleaded guilty to this charge. The Court sentenced Chow to 10 months in prison, while Wong and Lam received jail sentences of 13.5 months and 10 months, respectively. Prior to sentencing, Joshua Wong, 23, was placed in solitary confinement for seven days in Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre.

The trial of the three young pro-democracy leaders is part of the wave of prosecutions and arrests since Beijing imposed the National Security Law on Hong Kong at the end of June 2020. Our organizations see these arrests as actions meant to dismantle all vestiges of freedoms in Hong Kong. We condemn these actions by China’s and Hong Kong’s governments, which punish free expression and dissent, contravening their obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and international human rights law that guarantees the fundamental rights of Hong Kong citizens.

We are one with these three young, brave activists as they face a legal and judicial system that penalizes demands for greater freedoms and justice – a situation which, unfortunately, many Asian pro-democracy advocates in countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh, the Philippines and other parts of the region share. We call on the Hong Kong authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the three activists, as well as other pro-democracy advocates who have been arrested for merely exercising their fundamental rights and drop all charges against them. These include the owner and founder of newspaper Apple Daily Jimmy Lai, RTHK journalist Choy Yuk-ling, and eight pro-democracy former members of the Legislative Council.

We call on the administration of Chief Executive Carrie Lam to repeal repressive and undemocratic laws, such as the National Security Law, which hinder fundamental rights of Hong Kong citizens, and to take genuine steps to uphold the right to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association in Hong Kong.

We call on the international community to raise its voice and express its solidarity in condemning the worsening human rights situation in Hong Kong under China’s tighter control. The judgement by the Court demonstrates the hostility of the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities against dissent, and their willful criminalization of the youth for being outspoken in demanding rights and reforms. For too long, so many have suffered under China’s extreme actions to undermine democracy and fundamental rights, not only within its territory, but also in its sphere of influence. We call on international and intergovernmental agencies to take proactive actions to protect civil society in Hong Kong and the region at large, which now operate under an increasingly hostile environment.

Endorsing Organizations

Asia Democracy Network (ADN), www.adnasia.org
ADN works to promote and advance democratization and democratic governance at all levels of society through effective solidarity and cooperation among civil society organizations and democracy advocates in Asia. ADN is committed to building a just, equitable and sustainable community of democratic societies in Asia, where all human rights of all individuals, groups and peoples are fully respected and realized.

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), www.fidh.org
FIDH is a non-governmental federation of human rights organizations around the world. Founded in 1922, FIDH is the oldest international human rights organization in the world, and today brings together 192 member organizations in 117 countries. Its core mandate is to promote respect for all the rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), www.forum-asia.org
FORUM-ASIA is a regional network of 81 member organisations across 21 Asian countries, with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and consultative relationship with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. Founded in 1991, FORUM-ASIA works to strengthen movements for human rights and sustainable development through research, advocacy, capacity-development, and solidarity actions in Asia and beyond. It has sub-regional offices in Geneva, Jakarta, and Kathmandu.

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