Fiona made the following statement today on Hong Kong in her capacity as Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission:
"The decision by the courts in Hong Kong to sentence three courageous, principled young men to jail today is an outrageous miscarriage of justice, a death knell for Hong Kong’s rule of law and basic human rights, and a severe blow to the principles of “One Country, Two Systems” on which Hong Kong was returned to China twenty years ago.
Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law helped lead the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong in 2014 – one of the most peaceful and restrained movements of public protest the world has ever seen. Joshua Wong and Nathan Law have already served the penalties imposed by a court a year ago. Joshua Wong served 80 hours of community service and Nathan Law 120 hours. Alex Chow received a three-week suspended prison sentence a year ago. Yet the Hong Kong government decided to reopen the case and seek tougher punishments. Today a court jailed Joshua Wong for six months, Alex Chow for seven months and Nathan Law for eight months.
Joshua Wong turns 21 in October, an age where he could be eligible to stand for election to the Legislative Council. However, his eligibility is automatically now removed as a result of a six-month jail sentence. Nathan Law, aged 24, was elected as the youngest ever member of the Legislative Council a year ago, but was removed from his seat earlier this year on the grounds that he failed to take his oath properly. Alex Chow is 27 and has recently completed his studies at the London School of Economics.
Today’s verdict is not only outrageously unjust because these three young men had already served their sentences and because it strikes a severe blow to Hong Kong’s freedoms, but also because it robs three bright, intelligent, principled and courageous young men of more than half a year of their lives and potentially denies them a future in politics or other employment in Hong Kong.
In a series of tweets Joshua Wong exhibited his courage even upon learning of his sentence. He wrote: “You can lock up our bodies, but not our minds! We want democracy in Hong Kong. And we will not give up. They can silence protests, remove us from the legislature and lock us up. But they will not win the hearts and minds of Hong Kongers. Imprisoning us will not extinguish Hongkongers’ desire for universal suffrage. We are stronger, more determined, and we will win.”
As former heads of government, Parliamentarians and religious leaders, we stand in solidarity with these three brave young men, we condemn today’s verdict by the Court of Appeal, we call for it to be reviewed and for these three political prisoners to be released, and we urge the international community to put pressure on the governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to respect the principles of “One Country, Two Systems” and the Basic Law in Hong Kong."
The statement was signed by:
- The Rt Hon Lord Alton of Liverpool – Independent Crossbench Peer, House of Lords, United Kingdom
- The Rt Hon Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamden – former Leader of the Liberal Democrats, former UN High Representative in Bosnia, member of the House of Lords, United Kingdom
- His Eminence Cardinal Charles Maung Bo – Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar
- Fiona Bruce MP – Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, United Kingdom
- Andrew Khoo - Co-Chairperson, Human Rights Committee, Bar Council Malaysia
- The Hon. David Kilgour – former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, former Member of Parliament and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee 2010, Canada
- Mohamed Nasheed – former President of the Maldives
- The Hon. Consiglio Di Nino – former Senator, Canada
- The Rt Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind – former Foreign Secretary, United Kingdom
- Charles Santiago – Member of Parliament, Malaysia
- Congressman Christopher Smith – Member of the United States Congress & Co-Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, USA
- Charles Tannock MEP – Member of the European Parliament
- Alissa Wahid - Daughter of former president Abdurrahman Wahid and founder of the Gusdurian Network, Indonesia
- Zarganar - Comedian and former political prisoner, Myanmar
- John Dayal - Writer and activist, India
- John McCarthy - Former Australian ambassador to the Holy See
- Sir Geoffrey Nice QC - Former chief prosecutor in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, UK
- Janelle Saffin - Former member of parliament, Australia
- Jonathan Aitken - Former member of parliament, cabinet minister and author, UK
- Sonja Biserko - Human rights campaigner, Serbia, and former member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on North Korea
- David Matas - Human rights lawyer, Canada
- Catherine West MP - Former shadow foreign minister, UK
Fiona also spoke in Parliament in July regarding democracy in Hong Kong. You can read about this on the following page: