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STATEMENT ON THE ABUSE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT POWER AND VIOLENCE IN HONG KONG


HONG KONG: The Network Of Young Democratic Asians (NOYDA) strongly condemns the Hong Kong government for disrespecting the Hong Kong people’s freedom of expression and assembly during the protest movement against the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 [Extradition Bill].

Since June 9, 2019, millions of people in Hong Kong have peacefully exercised their right to demonstration and the right to speech. They demanded that the Hong Kong government withdraws the Extradition Bill. The said rights are guaranteed by the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is firmly recognized as a source of laws by the Basic Law of Hong Kong.

However, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, and the Hong Kong police have repeatedly deployed violent measures, targeting peaceful protesters, including the use of tear gas and several searches and arrests without warrants. To date, at least 44 people have been charged with “rioting,” a crime that carries a penalty of up to 10 years of imprisonment. On top of that, hundreds of more people were being arrested and detained for days.

Among those who were arrested and detained was Johnson Yeung Ching Yin (楊政賢). Mr. Yeung is a member of NOYDA, and as well as a board member of Amnesty International - Hong Kong. He was arrested on July 28 during a protest, despite the fact that he was cooperative in following police’s instructions at the scene. He was only released after 48 hours on July 30.

What is even more disconcerting is the series of brutal attacks against civilians conducted by hundreds of unidentified and organized plain-cloth men in white. To date, the Hong Kong government has factually and repeatedly ignored the people’s demand for investigating the attacks. The government also failed to identify the men in white despite several video clips which showed them committing crimes against the protesters and civilians. Ultimately, these men in white are not being prosecuted. Therefore, we have all the legitimate reasons to view that the Hong Kong government is backing and covering these people up. The government has created such a clear situation of impunity in the city used to be famous for upholding the rule of law. The fear of terror among the protesters is an undeniable reality.

We strongly demand Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the government of Hong Kong to stop enforcing violent tactics against the protesters immediately and to respect their freedom of expression and assembly.

We stand together with our friends in Hong Kong and condemn the egregious police brutality and violent crackdown spearheaded by Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party. We support the five main demands from Hong Kong protesters:

1. Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill;
2. Withdraw the ‘riot’ characterization of the June 12th protests;
3. Unconditional release of all arrested protesters;
4. Establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the police’s use of force in handling anti-bill protests;
5. The right to direct elections for the Hong Kong people.

History will not be kind to those who endorse authoritarianism. As democracy activists across Asia, we watch, we fight, and we will never forget.

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