Despite Beijing’s tight controls and Hong Kong’s struggle for democratic values, freedom continues: Emily Lau


The Chinese Communist Party’s infringement of Hong Kong’s autonomy may mean the end of “one country, two systems,” but it is not the end of Hong Kong, says Emily Lau, a former Democratic chairman and member of Hong Kong.

“People continue to fight, fight for what we believe, and fight for the values ​​that Beijing has promised under the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law,” Lau told NTD’s “Focus Talk” program.

As a result, more people will be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned in jail. More people will make sacrifices, Lau continued. But it’s the same in many places around the world where people are fighting very hard for their values ​​and beliefs, and at a very heavy price.

After the recent detention and ruling of Hong Kong’s opposition to democratization, more people have come to the conclusion that “judicial independence is dead” and courts can no longer protect people’s freedom and personal security. Mr Lau said. ..

Media mogul Jimmy Lai
Media mogul Jimmy Lai, the founder of Apple Daily, will arrive at the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong on December 31, 2020 to hear the Justice Department’s appeal against Rye’s bail decision in Hong Kong. (TyroneSiu / Reuters)

Earlier this month, Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai was sentenced to 14 months in prison, and nine other opponents held an unauthorized rally during a major anti-Democratization movement in 2019. He was sentenced to imprisonment or suspended sentence for organizing and participating.

Among them were 82-year-old barrister Martin Lee, two other lawyers, and six former Hong Kong lawmakers, who are known as the “father of democracy” in Hong Kong.

Epoch Times Photo
(LR) Alberto Ho and Yong Sam will leave the West Kowloon Law Court after being sentenced to suspended sentence in Hong Kong on April 16, 2021. (Son Pilun / Epoch Times)

Lau explained that past unauthorized meetings, or meetings without police permission, were only financially punished. But this time, Lau added, the judge set a precedent by passing up to 18 months’ imprisonment to the opponent by attending a very peaceful and non-violent rally.

Hong Kong journalists are also under severe pressure. Publication management may want them to self-censor for fear that the outlets may be closed or they may be arrested themselves, Lau said. She added that it is also related to foreign media.

“It’s a very tough picture and it’s very sad.”

Epoch Times Photo
CCTV screenshot showing a black-clad intruder using a sledgehammer to damage printing press equipment at the Hong Kong edition of the Epoch Times print shop on April 12, 2021. (Epoch Times)

On April 12, the Epoch Times printing factory in Hong Kong was attacked by a hammer-wielding intruder, damaging the company’s computers and printing equipment. The attack has been blamed and blamed by the US State Department, US lawmakers, and lawmakers, experts, and organizations around the world.

“We condemn the attack on the Epoch Times printing plant and urge Hong Kong authorities to investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said a State Department spokesman.

Some journalists have left Hong Kong. More and more media outlets may close the door, but there are still very brave journalists at work, Lau said. “We all need to help them,” she added.

“One of the key aspects of a place being free and safe is the free press. It helps to preserve these things, so when the authorities take action, they silence them in the press. We aimed to get it done, “Lau explained.

“We all need to keep fighting for maximum space,” she said. If some media cannot function as mainstream media, they will use online or social media channels unless cracked down by the government, Lau continued.

“They want to use every possible means to protect their values ​​…. People have to do it in a very wise and very intelligent and creative way. “Hmm,” Lau said.

Schools and universities are also “under great pressure, and some politicians have even suggested installing CCTV cameras in their classrooms to monitor teachers,” Lau said.

Epoch Times Photo
The TV screen shows Hong Kong Secretary Carrie Lam addressing the Hong Kong City Council on June 17, 2015. (PhilippeLopez / AFP / Getty Images)

On March 30, the Chinese Communist Party administration finalized a major reform of Hong Kong’s electoral system to reduce the number of seats in the legislative council (city council) elected by the people.

Before the reform Hong Kong legislature It consisted of 70 seats, half of which were directly elected by the general public. The reforms have increased the total number of seats in Parliament to 90, while the number of directly elected seats has decreased from 35 to 20.

“These changes give Beijing full control over the system for those elected to the Legislative Council,” Lau said.

Hong Kong is very small and has a very small population, so if Beijing wants to strengthen its control of Hong Kong, it can do whatever it wants. But people of all kinds of political views are very dissatisfied with it, Lau said. [is] It’s like evaporating in front of you. “

Beijing officials have repeatedly publicly stated that the protests that took place in Hong Kong within the last few years were “totally unbearable,” Lau said. But Beijing must be very angry with the Hong Kong government under the leadership of Carrie Lam. Lau explained that she couldn’t put the city under Beijing’s control and end her anxiety.

“We urged Carrie Lam to engage in a dialogue and conduct an independent judicial investigation against the entire saga to calm everyone, but she refused or Beijing asked her. I didn’t allow it, “Lau said.

It intervened when Beijing saw that the Ram administration could not rule Hong Kong. But it was done in a very strict way without consulting the people of Hong Kong, Lau continued.

Some Hongkongers will be threatened by Beijing’s actions as they have witnessed the Chinese administration doing whatever it wants to do in the city, which imprisoned opponents, political systems and election rules. Lau said it would change. But others will continue to fight for freedom. “I certainly hope it is done in a peaceful and non-violent way,” she added.

Some Hong Kongers may want to relocate, especially those who have a family “because they want their children to have a safe and free future.”

Lau hopes that “foreign countries, especially democratic, free and secure countries, will have more friendly policies and will allow Hong Kong people to migrate there.”

Lau said she and many of her activist colleagues would stay in Hong Kong, even if some of them had already been sent to jail or imprisoned.

“After leaving the Legislative Council in 2016, I didn’t have paid employment. Nobody offered me anything …. If you tell them you don’t care about money, You don’t care about fame-how can they get you? But if you’re crazy about them and crazy about women and men, they’ll catch you. ” Lau said Epoch Times Back in 2019.

People “have weaknesses, and sometimes your enemies, your enemies want to take advantage of it and maximize it for their benefit,” Lau said.

“One country, two systems”

Hong Kong
Then, on December 19, 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (L) drank with Chinese President Li Xiannian (2dL), British Foreign Minister Geoffrey Howe (2dR), and Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian (R) in Beijing. Donnet / AFP via Getty Images)

Journalist Lau asked the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher a question. Press conference 1984, two days later Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration Signing ceremony. “You have signed an agreement with China that promises to bring more than 5 million people into the hands of the Communist dictatorship. Can this be morally defended, or the best form of morality in international politics? Is it really true that is in my own national interest? “

Thatcher said in response To her question that Britain did the best for Hong Kong. If the agreement had not been signed, Hong Kong would “automatically return to China. [in 1997] There is no guarantee and no benefit of the agreement. “

Thatcher said most Hong Kongers were happy with the deal, adding that Lau could be a “lonely exception.”

“Lonely exception” is the definition of madness used by George Orwell in his book 1984.

The· Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration For 50 years after its delivery in 1997, it laid the foundation for Hong Kong’s governance in accordance with the principle of “one country, two systems.”

However, in 2017, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Said The arrangement made under the Joint Declaration “is now history, has no practical meaning, and does not bind the Hong Kong administration of the Chinese central government,” he said. [Special Administrative Region].. “

Lau explained that he was right when asking about the Sino-British agreement because he understood behavior patterns throughout the history of the Chinese Communist Party.

Jenny Chang and Frank Fang contributed to this report.

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