Hong Kong: Chairs Condemn Political Prosecutions of Democracy Advocates

April 16, 2021

(Washington, DC)--Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), the Chair and Cochair, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued the following statement about the conviction and sentencing of multiple democracy advocates in Hong Kong for unauthorized assembly, including—Leung Kwok-hung (18 months), Jimmy Lai (12 months), Lee Cheuk-yan (12 months), Au Nok-hin (10 months), Cyd Ho (8 months), Albert Ho (12 months, suspended), Margaret Ng (12 months, suspended), Martin Lee (11 months, suspended), Yeung Sum (8 months, suspended), and Leung Yiu-chung (8 months, suspended).

“The convictions should be condemned by all those committed to restoring Hong Kong’s autonomy and human rights. These are clearly political prosecutions. Jimmy Lai, Martin Lee, Lee Cheuk-yan, Margaret Ng and others were singled out and targeted by the Hong Kong law enforcement for participating in a peaceful march. Few predicted that there would one day be political prisoners in Hong Kong, and that is now sadly the case, with more to come under the draconian National Security Law. Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms, guaranteed by international treaty, continue to be under assault. Jimmy Lai also faces other charges relating to his operation of a pro-democracy newspaper, demonstrating that the freedom of the press is also fast fading. The signal sent today should have serious implications for relations between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China. We stand ready to legislate for the people of Hong Kong and urge the Biden Administration and the international community to hold accountable those responsible for political prosecutions in Hong Kong.”