Support Freedom to Protest in Hong Kong
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Since the Umbrella Movement in late 2014, the Hong Kong SAR Government has taken a hardline approach against public protests, supported by aggressive policing. It now regularly prosecutes protestors to the legal limits to deter citizens from expressing their political opinion through demonstrations. This is in lockstep with the Central Government in Beijing, which has refused to meet Hong Kongers’ demand for fair political representation through universal suffrage as promised in the Basic Law of 1997. Our goal is to create worldwide awareness of political repression in Hong Kong and to unite people to express solidarity with the young protesters seeking freedom and democracy in Hong Kong. Please sign our petition!
Political freedom is in rapid decline in Hong Kong. Recently, there has been rampant and unprecedented interference by the government in the electoral process for the legislature. Five candidates were barred from running by the Electoral Affairs Commission for their political views. Two other candidates won elections but were disqualified from taking office after their oath-taking was declared invalid, and five more are under similar threats of disqualification.
Meanwhile, protesters are being prosecuted with a vast array of offences, including illegal assembly, public nuisance, obstructing a police officer in due execution of duty, rioting and arson. Thirty five people have already been charged following their participation in the Mong Kok Protest in February 2016 which supported street vendors’ rights. In one case, a 22-year-old Hong Kong University student was convicted of rioting and sentenced to three years. The leaders of the political party Hong Kong Indigenous, Ray Wong and Edward Leung, are charged with inciting rioting, which may carry up to a ten-year sentence.
At least 66 activist in the Umbrella Movement were charged with being a public nuisance and related offences. Another nine activists protesting against Basic Law interpretation by Beijing were charged with illegal assembly. A widening crackdown on dissenting voices is ongoing.
We strongly condemn the government's blatantly political decision to bring these cases to trial in order to suppress people's right to protest. The number of people set to be in jail for participating in freedom and democracy protests ranges from several dozens to a hundred. These protestors should be vigorously defended by the international community. They took to the streets for their political beliefs and now face harsh prosecutions by the Hong Kong government.
We must take action now. With the deterioration of political freedom in Hong Kong, we must resolutely oppose the government’s plan to activate Article 23 of the Basic Law through legislation designed to put draconian legal tools in the hands of the government. This would further undermine judicial independence, curtail political rights and result in political prisoners. Please sign the petition!
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