Protest against shameful political arrests of Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China (the Alliance) strongly condemns the Hong Kong SAR Government for condoning the politically-motivated arbitrary arrests of 15 pro-democracy leaders by the police yesterday (18 April), including the Alliance Chairman Lee Cheuk-yan, Vice-Chairman Albert Ho, Secretary Richard Tsoi and Standing Committee Member Leung Yiu-chung.
The fifteen are accused of organizing and participating in unauthorized assemblies on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon on August 18, October 1 and October 20 last year, in violation of the Public Order Ordinance. However, this ordinance does not meet international human rights standards, and the United Nations has recommended its abolition and/or substantial revision.
Used as a political tool, the police dispatched more than 200 officers to make the arrests. The arrest methods employed were harsher than in some previous cases. Many of the leaders were arrested at home, house searches were conducted, clothes worn during the protests in August and October last year were demanded, mobile phones were confiscated, and the taking of statements and the bail process were delayed.
These political arrests aim at curbing freedom of expression, creating a chilling effect, splitting society politically, and making it more turbulent. They took place only days after statements by the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR region and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council demanded that more protesters be prosecuted. This wave comes after already nearly 8,000 previous arrests for participation in protests since June last year.
According to Chapter 3 of the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Hong Kong people are guaranteed the rights to freedom of speech, the press, association and assembly. These rights are inviolable. The intention of the police mass arrest is to create panic and white terror to undermine Hong Kong civil society and Hong Kong people’s rights to freedom of thought and expression.
The arrests are intended to deprive the people of their constitutional right to freedom of assembly. The Alliance called on the public to continue to take to the streets and continue to fight for their political rights. As shown in the recent statements of the Liaison Office and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, the Central People’s Government is trying to frighten Hong Kong people from going to the streets to fight for democracy and suppress Legislative Council members’ right to discuss politics. We believe they will in the future take additional steps to proceed with legislation related to Article 23 of the Basic Law or to introduce the National Security Law into Hong Kong through Annex III of the Basic Law.
The Alliance does not rule out that the police will attempt to suppress the June 4 commemorative rally and assembly, but the Alliance will continue to organize and never back down. The Alliance urges the public not to forget the sacrifice of the Chinese people for democracy, to defend the right of Hong Kong people to freedom of assembly, to fight for the vindication of June 4, and to continue the fight for human rights and freedom.
Finally, the Alliance urges the Hong Kong SAR Government to:
1. Amend the Public Order Ordinance which is being used to violate human rights;
2. Cease unreasonable prosecutions;
3. Respond to the five demands of Hong Kong people and investigate problems of indiscriminate arrest and violence by the police; and
4. Respect the Basic Law that grants people the rights to freedom of assembly and of speech.
1. 15 arrested persons: Margaret Ng, Cyd Ho, Martin Lee, Yeung Sum, Sin Chung-kai, Au Nok-hin, Leung Kwok-hung, Avery Ng, Raphael Wong, Figo Chan, Lee Cheuk-yan, Albert Ho, Richard Tsoi, Leung Yiu-chung, Jimmy Lai
2. The Alliance’s commemoration events for the 31st Anniversary of June 4: https://hka8964.wordpress.com/6431-2