公民力量简报*       2018年11月1日

 

收紧控制:香港自由的消蚀和独裁主义的崛起

 

本尼迪克·罗杰斯

 

(罗杰斯先生于11月1日在公民力量搬进新办公室第一天的公民力量论坛上发表演讲,本简报是演讲内容总结。活动的全部过程的录像链接是http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_WKQyvb9Tc&t=17m20s。)

 

 

今天在公民力量论坛的首次活动上演讲,我深感荣幸。在中国共产党试图强力消除支持民主和人权的声音时,这样的活动是很重要的。

 

我一直致力于就广泛涉及中国的问题展开活动和发声,其中包括对维吾尔人、法轮功和基督徒的迫害问题,也曾就台湾问题、维吾尔的监禁问题以及中国与梵蒂冈的关系发表文章。我以如下身份进行工作:国际人权组织世界基督教联盟东亚部负责人——这是我的全职工作;保守党人权委员会的共同创办人和副主席,这个委员会于2016年调查中国人权状况并出版了一份报告《最黑暗的时刻:2013-2016年中国人权迫害》;香港观察的共同创办人和主席。今天我也是以这些身份来到这里,特别谈一下香港。为什么?有两个原因:第一是个人的历史,香港政权交接后,我作为记者在香港工作了五年,我深爱这座城市,2017年10月,当我试图访问香港的时候,我发现自己被拒绝入境,我在2017年发表的一篇支持民主运动的文章导致我上了入境黑名单,我的遭遇表明对人权的压制是如何严重,但这也促使我创办了香港观察——第一个专注于香港的国际人权组织。这和我今天谈论香港的第二个原因密切相关:香港观察的研究表明当中国的公民社会遭受越来越严重打压的时候,近年来香港同样可以看到史无前例的镇压,但它们经常被忽视。所以在这里我要说,当美国关注中国人权弊病的时候,不应该忘记香港。

 

近年来,香港的自由遭受前所未有的压制。书商被越境绑架、学生抗议者被判入狱、政治候选人被禁止参加选举、立法会议员被取消资格。新闻自由、学术自由和法治都笼罩在紧张的气氛之下,习近平的独裁统治大幅度限制自由。

 

和中国的其它地方一样,最初的转折点是习近平的上台。从那时起,香港政府的各种政策开始了实质性的改变。习近平的前任们较为放任的做法让位于独裁心态,权力骄傲地控制一切——包括香港广为瞩目的经济繁荣和法治制度。

 

香港曾经的新闻自由、经济自由、司法独立和学术自由的大学正被拖向共产党控制的轨道。香港接受联合国关于人权的标准,《公民权利和政治权利国际公约》被香港基本法所接受,但这并没有能阻挡对人权的打压。

 

 

关键性的分水岭是2014年学生领导的雨伞运动。几十万香港人占据街道长达79天,表现了对民主前所未有的支持,呼吁政府给与他们基本的选举权。这是一场特殊的运动,由鼓舞人心的年轻人领导——我有幸与其中的一些成为朋友。它鼓舞了世界,也促使我关注香港的改变:每次当我讲到香港,我会带上这条黄丝带,与雨伞革命中的黄丝带活动人士站在一起。我知道世界上有些地方的人们高度珍惜自由,香港人深深地鼓舞着我。

 

这场运动展现了香港公民社会的力量,北京将它视为威胁。于是打压进一步增加,人权受限,并持续而长久地威胁、破坏香港的意在永久保护人权的英中交接安排。

 

 

镇压以各种各样的方式表现出来,最明显的是对政治抗议者的打压。超过一百名政治抗议者被起诉,几位活动人士入狱,其中有被卢比奥参议员和史密斯众议员等联署提名诺贝尔和平奖的黄之峰、罗冠聪和周永康,也包括梁天琦,一位极赋才华的年轻的香港活动人士,梁天琦因被控2016年2月卷入旺角抗议的“暴动罪”而被判监6年,刑期比在酒店强奸妇女的香港警官还长。27岁的梁天琦没有犯罪记录,也没有以任何方式参与向警察投掷石块的行为。但香港政府选择让这个最有力的挑战者之一在监狱中度过六年的大好成长时光。

 

 

很多活动人士被起诉,引用的是多次遭受联合国批评的旧殖民时期的坏法令。有关公共秩序的条例是英国给香港留下的最坏的遗产之一,由于对表达自由的限制,已经多次招致联合国批评。但这不是唯一被中国用来恐吓和压制民主运动的殖民时期的法律,性格温和的法律教授戴耀廷推动了2014年的抗议活动,他正被控以“公共危害”。

 

为了加重对他的判罚,他们对他罗列了荒唐的指控:不仅指控他危害公共秩序,而且还包括“煽动危害公众”。对过时的英国殖民时期普通法的惩罚性使用,无法表明香港政府所宣称的尊重联合国人权准则。

 

伴随着对政治抗议者的起诉,政党空间也受到压缩。最近,一个政党被取缔。民主选举的立法会议员被除名,根据北京的需要,候选人被政治性审查。香港观察最近出版了如下报告:香港的政治审查——关于候选人和立法会议员被取消资格的报告。

 

值得注意的是,在香港的独立法庭,只有受到来自北京的干涉,立法会议员被取消资格才是可能的。虽然法官们或多或少仍保持了独立性,而法治他也大体上保持了完整性,北京正在越来越多地对那些他们需要掌控结果地案件加以干预。在这一案例中,他们有效地在香港基本法上添加了修正案,以确保候选人被成功地审查。虽然中国共产党在技术上确实有权“解释”基本法,但在香港的“小宪法”之下,他们并没有权利修改当地法。为了取消候选人的资格,他们成功地修改了当地法律,这是对人权、对香港基本法承诺地香港“高度自治”的侵犯。

 

 

法官们对这种干预可能破坏司法独立表示了担心。前香港终审法院常任法官包致金说,香港法治面临“前所未有的恶劣风暴”。

 

北京的干预并不局限于政治和法律领域,也在文化领域蔓延:大学和新闻界特别容易受到伤害。在香港观察于2018年1月出版的一份报告中,凯大熊博士描绘了学术自由遭受的侵蚀。这份报告强调,占领运动后,学者们因在支持民主运动中的角色,遭受自上而下的压制,试图限制学术自由。这体现在三个关键趋势中:有争议的人物——包括主张香港独立的人物——或者被迫离开他们的位置,或者被阻止升迁,或者正面临法外的组织压力迫使他们离开;国家任命和有政治背景的人管理大学,违背学生和员工的意愿;限制言论自由的力量越来越罔顾法律。

 

 

不同的控制手段被用于约束新闻界。审查和自我审查限制独立媒体的工作。虽然这部分来自于市场的间接压力,但也会直接来自中国大陆的积极干预。现在,中国大陆的公司控制了多数香港特别行政区的媒体,而且本地商业界不向批评中国政府的出版物投放广告,自我审查正变得越来越普遍。

 

 

另外,记者和其它媒体工作者,由于经常支持民主运动,表达批评性的观点,正在被攻击,被威胁,或者被撤销香港的工作签证,这侵犯了《公民权利及政治权利国际公约》19(2)款中的权利。2013年,《阳光时务》出版人陈平遭挥舞棍棒的凶徒袭击受伤;2014年,《明报》前总编刘进图遭遇持刀歹徒攻击,伤势严重。在2016年春节发生的冲突中,执勤警察攻击了现场的记者;2017年,“香港自由新闻”的共同创办人和主编汤姆·格伦迪以及“香港自由新闻”的离任、现任雇员以及他们的家人收到匿名恐吓信件。我自己也收到过来自香港的五封匿名信——三封寄给我在伦敦的邻居,一封寄给我的母亲,一封寄给世界基督教联盟的董事。

 

这都造成了鼓励自我审查的气氛,前所未有的气氛,仍在令人焦虑地增长,导致记者无疆界组织将香港地新闻自由指数降到了第70位。但这并未触动国际新闻界,直到事态继续变得令人烦扰:《金融时报》亚洲新闻编辑马凯作为香港记者俱乐部的副主席,主办了一次有争议的演讲后,被取消了工作签证。世界最主要的金融中心之一拒绝《金融时报》记者的签证,确实是史无前例和令人担忧的变化。

 

如果香港政府推动国家安全立法,事情似乎会变得更糟。北京正施压香港政府展开国家安全立法,包括一些模糊的指控,如“颠覆罪”、“泄漏国家机密”以及“勾结国外政治组织”。如果上述条款被糟糕地制定出来,这些立法将会向原本就不足以保护人权的香港法律添加模糊的、政治化的条款,将会严重压制言论自由,造成进一步的自我审查。

 

 

美国需要认真考虑这对香港这样的经济中心意味着什么。因为有强大的法治和自由表达的透明度,香港一直是国际投资的重要地区。如果记者们象《南华早报》的任美贞一样因为披露腐败而担心丢掉工作,或者更进一步,因为“颠覆”或“泄露国家机密”而被起诉,他们将被强迫进行自我审查。谁还会在那里进行报道

,以确保香港是一个安全和透明的经商之地呢?谁还会在那里确保香港在商业上值得与中国大陆不同的对待呢?这些问题具有十分紧迫的重要性。

 

 

如果我们想避免香港成为另一个中国大陆的城市,避免自由受到类似的限制和剥夺,国际社会采取行动并大声说出来是至关重要的。香港仍是重要的国际枢纽,这意味着国际声音还可以保持影响力:美国是香港重要的贸易伙伴,所以美国可以在表达民主和法治作为根本的自由价值观上起到作用。美国副总统迈克·彭斯最近发表关于中国的演讲时,他提到了台湾、西藏和维吾尔,下一次他必须也提及香港——因为美国可以扮演重要角色,以避免中国其它地方发生的压制性事件在香港重演。

 

我想用保守党在伯明翰的会议上所发生的事件来结束我的演讲,会议是由我组织的。我既是香港观察的共同创办人和主席,又是保守党人权委员会的共同创办人和副主席,两个组织是这次会议的共同举办者。我邀请了李柱铭、戴耀廷和罗冠聪,因为他们分别是三代人中最受我尊重的,我希望英国人就我们对香港的义务听取三代民主主义者的声音。

 

我有足够长时间的政治经验让我面对质问,如果谩骂和吼叫的孔琳琳对我、对其他发言者只是质问,无论多么具有挑战性和敌意,我维护她这么做的权利,只要她以平静、合理的态度这么做,她是受欢迎的。但她却是大喊、尖叫和咆哮,而且拒绝停止。我说我是支持中国的,在这个意义上,尽管我是中国政权的批评者,但我支持中国人民,希望中国成功。我说香港的成功和尊重对香港人民的承诺符合中国利益。这让她发狂,她用一种用我从未见识过的恶意大喊大叫,尽管我说过我支持中国,但我成了一个“反华者”,尽管我始终表明我反对分裂支持“一国两制”,但她说我要“分裂中国”,我成了一个“撒谎者”。。

 

想必,她会继续说我是一个“探戈舞者”,一个“老婊子”,这都是香港末代港督遭受过的侮辱。尽管她表达了观点点被礼貌请求回到她的座位,但她拒绝停止喊叫而且动手打了礼貌地要求她离场的志愿者。她打了他一次、两次,接着是第三次,在网上疯传的视频并未捕捉到整个过程,没有拍下她打的第一个和第二个耳光,只是拍下了她第三次动手和后来的辱骂。

 

我想这样结束今天的演讲:我仍然支持中国,自从1992年18岁去青岛,我成年后的生活有相当一部分和中国人一起工作,其中包括香港人。我从来没想到中国和香港会变成今天这个样子。的确,我曾想象中国和香港都将会是开放的,事实确实相反。

 

但我终究不相信这些变化符合中国利益。剥夺一个成功的金融中心的自由不符合中国利益,不符合美国利益,或香港的利益。中国因为不尊重既定的(英中)合约,将会在香港招致根深蒂固的反对。由于违背中英联合声明,他们被证明是一个不可信的国际伙伴。香港具有重要的区域地位,保持持续开放对整个城市是十分重要的。现在是时候对中共政权说——“适可而止”了!

 

 

(本尼迪克·罗杰斯是香港观察的共同创办人和主席,香港观察是去年成立的呼吁香港自由和法治的倡议组织。在中国政府的命令下,20171011杰斯抵达香港,被拒入境,引起了国媒体的关注。

 

罗杰斯也是人权组织国际基督教联盟东亚部负责人,国际基督教联盟致力于维护所有人的信仰自由。罗杰斯是英国保守党人会共同创办人和副主席、国制止北反人道罪行盟的共同创办人、宗教自由会高研究、人和机会委会(权组织)和(帕多曼沙)基金会的董事、止中共移植用国际联盟咨会委

罗杰斯著有六本著作,是《华尔街日报》、《纽约时报》、《天主教先驱报》、《外交》、《赫芬顿邮报》的长期合作者,并接受BBCCNNSKY、半岛电视台等电视、广播采访。曾在美国国会、欧洲会、英国会作,并常参加各种会和大学的演

 

2018930日,在杰斯组织召开的英国保守党人会香港问题上,中国央视记者孔琳琳大,掌掴志愿者,并对罗杰斯加以辱。)

 

* 公民力量研究所不定期发表中英文双语“公民力量简报“(CPIFC Briefing Series)和“公民力量研究报告”(CPIFC Monograph Series)。前者是简明准确反映中国现实的叙述式或学术简报式的短篇文章,后者则是公民力量研究所有关中国的政治、经济、社会、文化、历史、宗教、国际关系、人权改善、民主变革战略等议题的学术性分析预测文章。

 

 

CPIFC Briefing Series*     November 1, 2018

A tightening grip: The rise of authoritarianism and the erosion of freedom in Hong Kong

 

Benedict Rogers

 

(This is the summary of Benedict Rogers’ Nov.1 talk at Citizen Power Forum run by Citizen Power Initiatives for China. To watch the video for the whole event, please click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_WKQyvb9Tc&t=17m20s)

 

It is my great privilege to be speaking today at the first of the Citizen Power Forum events. Initiatives like this are vital in a day when the Chinese Communist Party are using sharp power to attempt to silence pro-democracy and human rights voices. 

I have worked on and spoken widely on a range of issues relating to China, from the persecution of Uighur, Falun Gong and Christians, to writing articles about Taiwan or the imprisonment of Uighurs, to commenting on China-Vatican relations. I do so in several capacities: as East Asia Team Leader at the international human rights organisation CSW, which is my full-time job; as co-founder and Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, which in 2016 conducted an inquiry into human rights in China and published a report, The Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2013-2016; and as co-founder and Chair of Hong Kong Watch. It is in that capacity that I am here tonight, to talk specifically about Hong Kong. Why? For two reasons: first because of my personal history – I spent five years in Hong Kong as a journalist shortly after the handover and have a deep love for the city; yet in October 2017, when I was attempting to visit the city to see friends I found myself denied entry at the border: an article I had written in support of the pro-democracy movement in 2017 meant that I was blacklisted and not allowed in – my case exposed the severity of the crackdown and drew me to start Hong Kong Watch: the first international human rights NGO which focuses exclusively on Hong Kong. And this ties to my second reason for speaking about Hong Kong today: our research at Hong Kong Watch shows that in the wider story about the increasing crackdown on civil society in China, Hong Kong has seen both an unprecedented crackdown in recent years but is also often neglected. I am here to say that when the USA raises human rights abuses in China, Hong Kong must not be forgotten.

In recent years, Hong Kong has experienced an unprecedented crackdown on its freedoms. Booksellers have been abducted, student protestors have been imprisoned, political candidates have been disqualified from running for election and legislators have been barred from the city's legislature. Press freedom, academic freedom and the rule of law are all facing pressures in an atmosphere where Xi Jinping's authoritarian rule increasingly limits freedom.

As with elsewhere in China the initial turning point was the rise of Xi Jinping. There has been a qualitative change in the government’s policies in Hong Kong since President Xi came to power. The more laissez-faire approach of his predecessors has been replaced with an increasingly authoritarian mindset: one which prides control above all else – even the economic prosperity and institutions which Hong Kong’s reputation has been built on.

Hong Kong’s once free press, markets, law-courts and universities are being progressively drawn into the orbit of CCP control. Hong Kong is signed up to UN human rights standards, and the ICCPR is incorporated into the constitution – but this has not halted the crackdown.

The key watershed moment was the student-led ‘Umbrella Movement’ protests of 2014. An unprecedented outpouring of support for democracy, hundreds of thousands occupied the streets for 79 days, calling for the government to grant them universal suffrage. This was a unique movement in Hong Kong; led by inspiring young people – some of whom I am now privileged to call my friends. It inspired the world and it awakened me to the changing situation in Hong Kong: every time I speak about Hong Kong I wear this yellow tie – to stand with the ‘yellow ribbon’ activists of the Umbrella Movement. I know few places in the world where people value their freedoms so highly: Hong Kongers deeply inspire me.

But this movement exposed the power of civil society in Hong Kong, and Beijing saw that as a threat: the crackdown has been excessive and breached human rights. It continues today and threatens to undermine Hong Kong’s unique handover settlement – which is supposed to protect human rights – permanently.

The crackdown has found expression in varying forms: the most obvious place to start is with a crackdown on political protestors. More than 100 political protestors have been prosecuted and the activists imprisoned. This includes Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law, the leaders of the Umbrella Movement that Senator Rubio and Congressman Chris Smith nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. It also included Edward Leung, one of Hong Kong’s most talented young activists, was sentenced to six years in jail for “rioting” for his involvement in the Mong Kok protests of February 2016. This was more than a Hong Kong police officer received for raping a woman in a hotel room. Aged 27, Mr Leung neither has a prior criminal record, nor did he in any way join those who threw stones. Yet the Hong Kong government chose to lock-up and shut-up one of their most powerful opponents for six of the most formative years of his life.

Many of these activists have been prosecuted with bad old colonial legislation which has been repeatedly criticised by the United Nations. The Public Order Ordinance is one of Britain’s worst legacies in Hong Kong and has repeatedly been criticised by the UN for excessively curtailing freedom of expression. But it is not the only colonial era law that China is using to intimidate and silence the democracy movement. Benny Tai, the mild-mannered law professor who masterminded protests in 2014, is being charged with “public nuisance”.

In a bid to maximise his sentence, they have stacked absurd charges on him: not only accusing him of public nuisance, but also “incitement to public nuisance” and “incitement to incite public nuisance”. The punitive use of this outdated common law charge from the British colonial era does not reflect well on the Hong Kong government, which claims to be signed up to UN human rights standards.

Alongside the prosecution of political protestors, there has been the constriction of political party space. A political party was recently banned. Democratically elected lawmakers have been barred from the legislator and candidates have been politically screened at Beijing’s bequest. Hong Kong Watch published a report on this recently titled: Political Screening in Hong Kong: A report on the disqualification of candidates and lawmakers.

It is worth noting that the disqualification of lawmakers has only been possible because of Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong’s independent law courts. Although judges remain more or less independent, and the rule of law is by-and-large intact, Beijing are increasingly interfering in cases where they want to rig the outcome. In this instance, they effectively issued an amendment to Hong Kong’s constitution to ensure that the candidates were successfully politically screened. Although the CCP do technically have the right to ‘interpret’ the constitution, they do not, under Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, have the right to amend local laws. In order to disqualify candidates – they effectively amended local laws: and this was therefore a violation of human rights and the ‘high degree of autonomy’ that is guaranteed for Hong Kong in the constitution.

Judges have expressed fears that such interference could undermine the independence of the judiciary. The former Court of Final Appeal Judge Kemal Bokhary says that the rule of law in Hong Kong faces a ‘storm of unprecedented ferocity.’

Beijing’s interference has not been limited to the political or legal space, but has spread into culture: the universities and the press are particularly vulnerable. In a report published by Hong Kong Watch in January 2018, Dr Kevin Carrico described the erosion of academic freedom. The report highlights that the role academics played in the pro-democracy movement has led to a ‘growing top-down backlash [after the Occupy Movement] has attempted to limit academic freedom’, and that this is seen through three key trends: controversial academic figures – including those advocating Hong Kong independence - have been removed from their posts, seen promotions blocked, or are facing extra-legal campaigns to pressure their removal; State-appointed and politically-connected figures are governing universities in a manner divorced from the will of students and faculty; and there is a growing push to limit freedom of speech without any legal basis.

Different levers of control are being used to control the press. Censorship and self-censorship have restricted the work of independent media outlets. Although some of this is due to market forces, it can also be linked to active interference from the mainland. Mainland Chinese companies now hold controlling interests in most HKSAR media outlets, and since local businesses are known to withhold advertisements from publications that criticize the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government, self-censorship is on the rise.

In addition, journalists and other media workers, often supporters of democracy and expressing critical views, have been attacked, threatened or had their Hong Kong working visa revoked, in violation of Article 19(2) rights under the ICCPR. In 2013, Chen Ping, the publisher of iSun Affairs, suffered injuries following an attack by baton-wielding assailants. In 2014, Kevin Lau, the former editor-in-chief of Ming Pao was seriously injured in a knife attack. During the Chinese New Year clashes in 2016, officers on duty attacked journalists covering the police standoff. In 2017, anonymous threatening letters were sent to Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) co-founder and chief editor Tom Grundy as well as former and current HKFP staff members and their families. I myself have received five anonymous letters from Hong Kong – three sent to my neighbours in the street where I live in London, one sent to my mother, and one to trustees of CSW.

All of this leads to an atmosphere which encourages self-censorship – an unprecedented and worrying development which has led to HK being downgraded to number 70 on the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. This had not impacted the international press until recently when in a disturbing development, the Financial Times Asia News Editor Victor Mallet was denied a working visa after hosting a controversial talk in his capacity as Vice-President of the Foreign Correspondent’s Club. For one of the world’s Financial hubs to deny a Financial Times journalist a visa is an unprecedented and worrying development.

Things are likely to worsen if the Hong Kong government pushes through National Security Legislation. Beijing is pressuring the Hong Kong government to introduce draconian national security legislation which incorporates vague charges including ‘subversion’, ‘leaking state secrets’ and ‘ties with foreign political organisations’. If badly drafted, this legislation will severely inhibit freedom of expression by introducing new vague, politicised terms into Hong Kong’s legal code which do not adequately protect human rights and lead to further self-censorship.

An important point for the United States to consider is the implications that this could have for Hong Kong as a business hub. Hong Kong has historically been a strong base for international investment because of its robust rule of law and free expression which allows for transparency. If journalists telling stories about corruption fear being sacked, as Shirley Yam of the South China Morning Post was in 2017, or worse sued for ‘subversion’ or ‘leaking state secrets’, they will be forced into self-censorship. Who will be there to expose these stories and ensure Hong Kong remains a safe and transparent place to do business? Who will be there to guarantee that Hong Kong deserves special and distinct treatment for trade in comparison to mainland China? These questions are of critical importance.

If we want to avoid Hong Kong becoming just another mainland city, with similar levels of repression and a loss of freedom, it is vital that the international community acts and speaks up now. Hong Kong remains an international hub which means that international voices continue to carry influence: the USA is a key trade partner for Hong Kong – and therefore America can play a role in stating that liberal values – democracy and the rule of law remain fundamental. When Mike Pence gave his recent speech on China, he raised Taiwan, Tibet and the Uighur – next time he must raise Hong Kong too --- because the USA could have a role in ensuring that the same processes which have happened in the more repressive parts of China are not repeated in Hong Kong.

I want to finish with by telling you about an incident at an event I organised at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. I am both the co-founder and Chair of Hong Kong Watch and the co-founder and Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, the two co-hosts of the fringe meeting. I invited Martin Lee, Benny Tai and Nathan Law, because they are three people of three generations for whom I have the utmost respect, and I wanted people in Britain to hear from three generations of democrats about our obligations to the people of Hong Kong.

I have been involved in politics long enough to be familiar with hecklers. If Kong Linlin, the woman who yelled abuse – first at me, then at the other speakers – had simply heckled, I would have defended her right to do so. If she had asked a question or expressed an opinion, no matter how challenging or hostile, as long as she had done so in a calm, reasonable manner, she would have been very welcome to do so. But instead, she yelled and screamed and shouted and refused to stop. I had said that I am pro-China, in the sense that I am pro the people of China and wanted China as a country to succeed, even if I am a critic of the Chinese regime. I had said that I believed it was in China’s interests for Hong Kong to succeed and for the promises to the people of Hong Kong to be honoured. That made her go berserk. She screamed – with a ferocity and venom I have never seen before – that I was anti-China (even though I had just said I was pro-China), that I want to divide China (even though I have been consistently clear that I oppose calls for separation and I support ‘one country, two systems), that I was a liar.

Presumably, later she would have said that I was a ‘tango dancer’ and a ‘prostitute for a thousand years’, the insults with which the last Governor of Hong Kong was laden. When she refused to stop screeching, despite respectful appeals to resume her seat having had her say, she then slapped a young volunteer who politely invited her to leave the event. She slapped him once, she slapped him twice, and then she hit him a third time. Not all of this is captured on the video which went viral, but the third hit is and the continued abuse is.

I want to finish today by saying: I remain pro-China. I have spent much of my adult life working with and for the people of China, including Hong Kong, ever since I went to Qingdao in 1992 aged 18. I never imagined then how China, and Hong Kong, would be today. Indeed, I had imagined that both would liberalise, whereas the opposite has happened.

But ultimately I don’t believe that these developments are in China’s interests. It is not in China’s interests, US interests or Hong Kong’s interests for the freedoms which make the city a successful financial hub to be undermined. China are creating an entrenched political opposition in HK by not respecting the agreement. And they are proving them untrustworthy international partners by violating the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Hong Kong has a unique role in the region and it is vital that it continues to be an open city. It is time to say to the CCP regime – ‘enough is enough.’


Benedict Rogers is the co-founder and Chair of Hong Kong Watch, a new advocacy organization established last year to speak up for Hong Kong’s freedom and the rule of law. On 11 October 2017, Ben was denied entry to Hong Kong upon arrival, on the orders of the Chinese government, an incident which drew international media attention.

Ben is also the East Asia Team Leader at the international human rights organization CSW, which works for freedom of religion or belief for all, co-founder and deputy chairman of the UK Conservative Party's Human Rights Commission, co-founder of the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea, Senior Fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute, a trustee of the Chin Human Rights Organisation and the Phan Foundation, and a member of the advisory board of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China.

He is the author of six books, and a regular contributor to international and national media including The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, The Catholic Herald, The Diplomat and The Huffington Post and has appeared on BBCCNNSkyAl Jazeera and other television and radio stations. He has testified before the US Congress, European Parliament and British Parliament and is a regular speaker at conferences and universities.

 

* Citizen Power Initiatives for China’s research arm Citizen Power Institute publishesCPIFC Briefing Series and CPIFC Monograph Series. The former are short essays or succinct scholarly articles that spontaneously reflect the realities of China while the latter are research reports on China’s politics, economics, culture, ethnicity, religion, civil society, human rights and strategies for its transition to democracy.

 

 

 

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