Chairs Seek Sanctions for Those Complicit in Arrest and Prosecution of Hong Kong 47

(Washington)—Representative Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), the Chair and Cochair, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) issued the following statement today on the second anniversary of the arrest of pro-democracy activists now on trial under the National Security Law. 

“It has been two years since the ‘Hong Kong 47’ were arrested, simply for organizing an opinion poll before Legislative Council elections—elections that were canceled and later restructured in a way that would only allow pro-government candidates to run. Most of them have been arbitrarily detained since that time, a clear violation of their due process rights. We call on the Hong Kong government to immediately drop charges against them and others facing charges under Hong Kong’s noxious National Security Law. That these champions of democracy are on trial at all signals the deep erosion of Hong Kong’s once venerated rule of law and the Chinese Communist Party’s tight grip on the city. On this day we renew our call for President Biden to sanction the prosecutors and other officials responsible for the arrest and prosecution of the ‘Hong Kong 47’and other democracy advocates, pursuant to authorities granted him by the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and the Hong Kong Autonomy Act. Prosecutors who should be sanctioned include Anthony Chau Tin-hang, Maggie Yang Mei-kei, Laura Ng Shuk-kuen, William Siu Kai-yip, Andy Lo Tin-wai, and Ivan Cheung Cheuk-kan, among others. Secretary Blinken and the State Department should also be requesting an urgent discussion at the United Nations Human Rights Council next month about the People’s Republic of China’s abysmal human rights record and its efforts to dismantle the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong’s citizens through the Sino-British Declaration and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” 

See the CECC staff report “Hong Kong Prosecutors Play a Key Role in Political Prosecutions” which makes the case for additional U.S. sanctions targeting Hong Kong’s prosecutors and lists others involved in political prosecutions. 

Earlier this month, the Chairs were joined by Senator Marco Rubio and Representative James P. McGovern in nominating six Hong Kongers—Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Tonyee Chow Hang-tung, Gwyneth Ho Kwai-lam, Lee Cheuk-yan, and Joshua Wong Chi-fung—for the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize. Through the nomination, the bipartisan group of lawmakers seeks to honor all those in Hong Kong who peacefully sought to preserve human rights and democracy in the face of increasing repression by the Hong Kong government and the government of the People’s Republic of China.

Additional case information about the “Hong Kong 47” and other political prisoners in Hong Kong can be found on the CECC’s searchable Political Prisoner Database.