Hongkongers in urgent need of “lifeboat plan” from UK government, says exiled politician Ted Hui 

Speaking at a webinar entitled ‘The Death of Democracy in Hong Kong’, organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hong Kong and Stand with Hong Kong, Ted Hui, a former pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker who fled the city in December said:

Hongkongers urgently need a safe place to go to, especially for those not eligible under the BN(O) visa scheme. Please consider asking for lifeboat plans, or safe haven plans, which will make a new route for such people to gain BN(O) status so that they can be safe, work and study here in the UK.”

Ted Hui Chi-fung is one of 15 Hong Kong lawmakers who resigned in protest from the city’s legislative council last year, after Beijing removed four other politicians for “being unpatriotic”. The Hong Kong establishment’s political crackdown has intensified in recent months, with restrictions on the press, education, citizens’ ability to protest and freedom of speech all being impacted.

Many suspected of being associated with the protest movement in Hong Kong have been charged under the draconian National Security Laws, which were unilaterally imposed by Beijing in the summer and criminalise any act or speech which could be considered terrorism, sedition, succession or collusion with a foreign power. 

Mr Hui himself was facing at least nine charges and being investigated under the National Security Laws. He went on to explain:

“I have personally been pepper sprayed a lot. I left Hongkong and went into exile because I couldn’t speak for Hongkongers, freedom or democracy anymore. I think our last chance has already gone because of the newly imposed National Security Law (NSL)

With this law, even talking to any foreigner can be very risky because the law is vague. You can face accusations of colluding with foreign forces and these offences can lead anyone to life imprisonment. Even without a hearing, it’s difficult to get bail because even the common law bail system has been changed by the NSL. Therefore, when you are prosecuted you are automatically facing jail. You can’t even wave a flag, let alone more radical acts like protesting.

The regime has also evolved in terms of its prosecution policies and its attitude to the wider worldThe authorities do not need to persecute people on logic. It doesn’t mind that the world is watching them. HSBC has also played a part, as it has frozen my accounts and cancelled the cards of myself and my family.

Magnitsky-style sanctions are important because they not only create trouble for Hong Kong officials, but also they recognise the cause of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. These sanctions create a real deterrent for government officials and civil servants. I would also argue that these sanctions should be imposed on not only government officials but also to senior HSBC workers too.

It’s very difficult to leave Hong Kong now, especially for activists and politicians. The regime doesn’t need a court order to take away our passport. The UK government should raise our right to leave Hong Kong, which is protected under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Young Hongkongers don’t deserve jail; they deserve freedom.

The freedom of Hong Kong is important for the freedom of the world.”

Baroness Bennett, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hong Kong, who hosted the event concluded: “Standing up for human rights is very important. We have to stand up for human rights everywhere, even if that goes against our diplomatic or commercial interests. We need to encourage this as a way for the world to operate so that we can create a fairer, better world.”

Pro-democracy grassroots organisation Stand with Hong Kong funds the APPG’s secretariat, The Whitehouse Consultancy

Please find the recording here and below.

 The Whitehouse team are experts in providing public relations and public affairs advice and political analysis to a wide range of clients, not only in the United Kingdom, but also across the member states of the European Union and beyond. For more information, please contact our Chair, Chris Whitehouse, at chris.whitehouse@whitehousecomms.com.