Frances Hui, the first public activist from Hong Kong to receive political asylum in the United States, has sounded the alarm over the peril faced by pro-democracy activists who have fled the city and continue their fight against its authoritarian government. Hui’s plea comes in response to the Hong Kong government’s shocking announcement that it is offering a bounty of up to $1 million for information leading to the capture of eight activists who sought refuge in other countries.
In a piece she wrote for RealClearPolitics, Hui emphasizes, the Chinese government’s pursuit of activists, including those residing in the U.K., the U.S., and Australia, poses a significant threat to the safety and freedom of those fighting for democracy in Hong Kong. The activists targeted by the bounty are individuals who have bravely exposed China’s broken promises to uphold Hong Kong’s autonomy and democratic ideals.
“I am not one of the eight, but all of us who fight for democracy in Hong Kong are in danger from a Chinese government that is chasing us for showing that it has broken its promises to keep Hong Kong a vibrant and free city-state,” she wrote.
Hui recounts her own experiences with surveillance and harassment, including being followed by Chinese spies while organizing rallies in support of the pro-democracy movement in Boston. While one of the agents involved was recently indicted, Hui emphasizes that more needs to be done to hold China accountable for its actions.
She highlights the existence of China’s 110 overseas secret police stations, which have subjected many overseas communities to constant surveillance and harassment. Despite the evidence, few countries have taken action to shut down these outposts or condemn China’s ongoing human rights violations.
The issuance of official arrest warrants by Hong Kong on overseas activists is unprecedented. The magnitude of the bounties offered, exceeding those for serious crimes such as child rape and murder, underscores the government’s determination to pursue these activists relentlessly.
“It’s the first time Hong Kong has issued official arrest warrants on overseas activists, with bounty eight times more than it would pay for help in arresting a child rapist and three times more than it would offer for a murder. John Lee, the chief executive, said that the eight activists would be ‘pursued for life’,” Hui explained.
Hui suggests that the rationale behind the bounties lies in geopolitics. The wanted list of activists is spread evenly among the U.S., the U.K., and Australia—countries that have recently sought to re-engage with China after a period of diplomatic freeze. The Hong Kong government appears to be testing the boundaries of these democracies, gauging their tolerance for China’s aggression.
The activist further contends that by prioritizing improved ties and economic interests over addressing human rights abuses, these countries are unwittingly allowing China to prevail.
“By neglecting China’s human rights abuses, countries are exacerbating the situation. If they fail to defend their residents and refuse to impose economic and political consequences on China, this stalking and harassment will persist,” Hui added.
Hui calls on the international community, including the countries hosting these activists and all Interpol member states, to prioritize human rights and not compromise the safety and security of those seeking refuge.
“So far, the U.K, the U.S., and Australia have done nothing to punish China or Hong Kong for this outrageous decision to hunt down people who have entered those countries legally, seeking refuge. It must do something, soon, or the next list will be far longer, and China will understand that it can pursue close relationships without upholding the democratic values of the West,” she ended.
Information for this briefing was found via RealClearWire and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.