‘Hong Kong 12’ detained for over 60 days for allegedly attempting to escape from Hong Kong


We, the undersigned, condemn the arrest and detention of the 12 Hongkonger activists who are currently being held in incommunicado detention in mainland China, including three who were under 18 years old at the time of their arrest.

The 12 activists were intercepted by China’s Coast Guard on 23 August 2020 while attempting to escape Hong Kong. Concern has been growing for the detainees, aged 16 to 30, who have now been held for more than 50 days with no communication with their families or access to lawyers of their choice.

The group of 12 were detained with the charge of “illegal border crossing,” a criminal offence that carries a sentence of up to two years in prison. After a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson labeled the detainees as “separatists” there are fears that the extreme charge of “endangering national security” could also be given. This could result in a life sentence or even the death penalty in “egregious cases.”

Families of the 12 held an emotional press-conference in Hong Kong calling on Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, to intervene in the case and to press for the detainees’ safe return to Hong Kong, as well as ensure their access to family appointed lawyers. At least four Chinese human rights lawyers, appointed by the families, have attempted to visit the detainees but were turned away. One was told his client already had lawyers, raising concerns that the lawyers were appointed by the government and therefore unable to provide an effective defense not biased towards the state-run police.

The arrest of this group of 12 activists and their forcible removal to mainland China and their incommunicado detention further signals the alarming and rapid decline in human rights for those living in Hong Kong. Yet, even so, Hongkongers continue to mount a remarkable challenge to Beijing. They are still working to resist the pervasive restrictions on their fundamental rights and freedoms, including a refusal to accept a sham version of democracy with leaders pre-approved by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

We call on the Chinese authorities to immediately release the 12 Hong Kongers who have been detained as a direct result of their human rights activism.

We call on world governments to take urgent action to press Chinese authorities, in the strongest possible terms, to release the Hong Kong 12. Governments must continue public pressure and demands along with concrete actions to support the peaceful exercise of rights by Hong Kong people.

We express our solidarity with the Hong Kong movement for democracy and rights, and we salute the people of Hong Kong for refusing to remain silent as Beijing reneges on its promise of universal suffrage and democratic reforms.

Names of the Hong Kong 12: 

Hoang Lam Phuc | 黃臨福 | 16
Cheng Tsz Ho | 鄭子豪 | 17
Liu Tsz Man | 廖子文 | 17, now 18
Kok Tse Lun | 郭子麟 | 18
Cheung Ming Yu | 張銘裕 | 20
Yim Man Him | 嚴文謙 | 21
Cheung Chun Fu | 張俊富 | 22
Li Tsz Yin | 李子賢 | 29
Li Yu Hin (Andy Li) | 李宇軒 |
Wong Wai Yin | 黃偉然 | 29
Tang Kai Yin | 鄧棨然 | 30
Quinn Moon | 喬映瑜 | 33

Signed by:

  1. Aref International Onlus
  2. Amigos de Tíbet Colombia
  3. Asociación Cultural Tibetano Costarricense
  4. Asian Solidarity Council for Freedom and Democracy
  6. Australia Tibet Council
  7. Australian Uyghur Tangritagh Women’s Association
  8. Boston Uyghur Association
  9. Casa Tíbet México
  10. Campaign for Uyhgurs
  11. Chinese Human Rights Defenders
  12. Citizen Power Initiatives for China
  13. Canada Tibet Committee
  14. China Against the Death Penalty
  15. Comité pour la Liberté à Hongkong
  16. Daily Hongkong
  17. Defend Democracy
  18. China Democracy Party
  19. Étudiants pour un Tibet Libre
  20. Frankfurt Stands With Hong Kong
  21. Free Indo-Pacific Alliance
  22. Free Tibet
  23. Hong Kongers in San Francisco Bay Area
  24. Hongkonger in Deutschland e.V.
  25. Hong Kong Committee in Norway
  26. Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles
  27. Hong Kong Political Affairs and Social Services (HKPASS) at UC Davis
  28. Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan
  29. Humanitarian China
  30. Human Rights in China
  31. International Campaign for Tibet
  32. International Service for Human Rights
  33. International Society for Human Rights – Sweden
  34. International Tibet Network Secretariat
  35. Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte (IGFM)
  36. Japan Uyghur Union/ 日本ウイグル連盟
  37. Keep Taiwan Free
  38. La Federacion of Cantonia
  39. Lamp of Liberty
  40. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
  41. Les Amis du Tibet, Luxembourg
  42. Libertyusa
  43. LUNGTA – Actief voor Tibet
  44. National Committee of Democracy Party of China
  45. NorCal HK Club
  46. NOW!
  47. Rangzen Movimento Tibete Livre, Brasil
  48. REACH India Group
  49. Safeguarding Defenders
  50. Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet
  51. Save Tibet Indonesia
  52. Save Tibet, Austria
  53. Students for a Free Tibet – Japan
  54. Sierra Friends of Tibet
  55. Sounds of the Silenced – SOS
  56. Southern Mongolia Congress
  57. The National Foundation Alliance of Hong Kong
  58. Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center
  59. Stand With Hong Kong Vienna
  60. Students for a Free Tibet
  61. Students for a Free Tibet – Denmark
  62. SumOfUs
  63. Swedish Tibet Committee
  64. Tíbet Patria Libre – Uruguay
  65. Taiwan Independence Project
  66. The National Foundation Alliance of Hong Kong
  67. The Norwegian Tibet Committee
  68. Tibet Action Institute
  69. Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V.
  70. Tíbet Mx
  71. Tibet Support Group Ireland
  72. Tibet Justice Center
  73. Tibetan Community in Britain
  74. Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey
  75. Tibetan Community in Sweden
  76. Tibetan community of South Australia
  78. Tokyo Tibetan Community
  79. Toronto Association for Democracy in China
  80. Torontonian HongKongers Action Group
  81. Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam
  82. US Hongkongers Club
  83. Uyghur Human Rights Project
  84. Voces de Tíbet México
  85. Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement
  86. Vancouverites Concerned About Hong Kong
  87. Victoria Hong Kong Tertiary Student Association
  88. Viet Tan
  89. We The Hongkongers
  90. World Uyghur Congress
  91. 台灣永社 Taiwan Forever Association
  92. 臺灣東突厥斯坦協會 Taiwan East Turkestan Association
  93.  芝援香港 Global Solidarity with Hong Kong – Chicago
  94. China Alarm
  95. Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete
  96. Associazione The Heritage of Tibet

    1. China’s coastguard released a statement on Weibo stating authorities in Guangdong tracked down a speedboat suspected of an illegal border crossing.
    2. Under international human rights law, the arrest, detention, or imprisonment of a child under the age of 18 may be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period. Every detained child has the right to maintain contact with his or her family through visits and correspondence. Moreover, any detained child has the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the detention before a court or other independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.
    3. https://hongkongfp.com/2020/09/09/rights-lawyer-says-china-may-have-appointed-state-lawyers-to-hongkonger-arrested-whilst-fleeing-by-boat/
    4. https://twitter.com/SpokespersonCHN/status/1304989967509151744?s=20; https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1200706.shtml
    5. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/9/15/hong-kongs-lam-says-12-arrested-at-sea-not-democracy-activists
    6. https://hongkongfp.com/2020/09/09/rights-lawyer-says-china-may-have-appointed-state-lawyers-to-hongkonger-arrested-whilst-fleeing-by-boat/
    7. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/30/we-want-our-son-back-families-of-detained-hong-kong-activists-left-in-the-dark
    8. Detainees must also be granted legal representation organised by their families and be allowed contact with their families. Furthermore, detainees must be given access to prescribed medication and medical treatment and not be subject to any form of torture or inhumane treatment.