UPDATE 15 June: International Tibet Network welcomes the news that the Hong Kong government has “suspended” its plan to allow extraditions to Mainland China. On 15 June Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam made the announcement, saying “I feel deep sorrow and regret that deficiencies in our work – and various other factors – have stirred up substantial controversies”. Protesters are still planning to march on 16 June and will not be satisfied until the extradition bill is entirely abandoned; however Ms Lam’s announcement shows that Hong Kong’s leaders are not entirely deaf to the voices of the people. Tenzin Jigdal, Tibet Network’s International Coordinator said: “We commend the inspirational courage of the people of Hong Kong for exercising their democratic right to protest, and for making their leaders not only listen but hit “pause” on deeply worrying plans, even as Beijing would no doubt be pressing “fast forward”. By taking to the streets in such numbers, Hong Kong people have shown that they are willing and able to defend the freedoms they hold so dear. We stand in solidarity with them as they continue to protest until this extradition bill is ditched once and for all.“
12 June 2019
Contacts: Tenzin Jigdal (Tibetan, English) +91 98052 74608, Penghsuan Lee (Chinese, English) +886 912545542, Lobsang Yangtso (Tibetan, English) +91 88265 07768
As protesters in Hong Kong successfully delay the second reading of a bill to amend its extradition laws, we express our deep admiration for and solidarity with those campaigning to protect human rights in Hong Kong. If the bill should pass by 20 June, we are gravely concerned that human rights defenders will be at risk of extradition to Mainland China, especially given China’s history of criminalising their actions and imposing long prison sentences.
“We fear for the freedom and safety of everyone and anyone in Hong Kong” said Tenzin Jigdal, International Coordinator of International Tibet Network. “The proposed changes to the extradition law could ultimately mean that no one is safe from extradition to Mainland China where the justice system is renowned for its record of arbitrary detention, widespread torture, enforced disappearances and violations of fair trials.“
Penghsuan Lee, Tibet Network’s East Asia Coordinator said from Taiwan: “We salute the people of Hong Kong for refusing to remain silent as their legislature presses ahead with these amendments. If the changes to the extradition law go through we will see a fundamental breach of the promise made to the people of Hong Kong in 1997, and we call on the international community to remember the moral responsibility it has to ensure these promises made by China are upheld.”
Lobsang Yangtso, Asia Regional Coordinator of International Tibet Network said: “We call on the Hong Kong authorities to immediately refrain from use of force against these peaceful protesters, as citizens have already been injured as a result of the police response. We in particular appeal directly to security forces to refuse unconscionable orders from their superiors if they come. With the 30th anniversary of Tiananmen so recently in our minds, we call on world governments to also convey this message to the Chinese authorities in the strongest possible terms, and remind them that, should tensions grow, to remain silent or passively stand by is to support the oppressor.”
Tenzin Jigdal added: “We send our solidarity to all those protesting in Hong Kong right now. Five generations of Chinese Communist Party leaders have failed to quash the aspirations of the people of Hong Kong, Tibet, East Turkestan, Southern Mongolia and China for democracy and liberty. We share a common desire for basic human rights; a desire shared with millions around the world and our collective resistance will endure until we all – or our children or even our children’s children – experience the sweet taste of freedom.”