Hong Kong: Statement on the Arrests of 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund Trustees

May 11, 2022

(Washington)--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, issued the following statement on the arrests of the trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund:

"Today’s arrest of all five trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund continues the Hong Kong government’s effort to dismantle the institutions safeguarding the rule of law and human rights of the Hong Kong people as it has systematically targeted civil society groups, threatening them with criminal investigation and prosecution under the pretext of national security. The arrests of Hui Po-keung, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Margaret Ng Ngoi-ye, Denise Ho Wan-see; and Cyd Ho Sau-lan should be condemned by all freedom-loving people, including the global businesses that have made Hong Kong home." 

"The 612 Fund provided assistance to individuals detained in connection with the series of large-scale pro-democracy protests in 2019, giving them legal, medical, psychological, and financial assistance. Such support is crucial for protecting the detainees’ due process rights. The 612 Fund, however, announced its closure in August 2021, after national security police demanded that the 612 Fund hand over operational records, including information about its donors and beneficiaries."

"We urge United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to schedule an urgent discussion at the UN Human Rights Council on these and the arbitrary detention of pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong and seek a visit to the city so the UN can consider Hong Kong's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  The sad trajectory of this once vibrant financial hub remains a concern of this Commission, the U.S. Congress, and all countries committed to the protection of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms."