Internationally renowned artist and pro-democracy activist Ai Weiwei said, “China represents the greatest challenge the West has ever faced” and called upon the free world to act with urgency during a parliamentary event today to mark the 180th anniversary of the founding of modern Hong Kong.
To mark Tuesday 26th January as the 180th anniversary of the founding of modern Hong Kong, dozens of MPs and Peers including Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith and the last Governor of Hong Kong Lord Patten also showed their solidarity with Hongkongers by recording and posting a series of videos on social media #standwithhk.
The Weiwei webinar was hosted by Alistair Carmichael MP on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hong Kong. It was organised to mark the release of Weiwei’s latest documentary ‘Cockroach’ which has been hailed a “stunning record of the Hong Kong protests” and the willingness of Hongkongers to “sacrifice everything” for their freedom.
Weiwei went on to predict that “the outcome of Hong Kong will be sad and hopeless. This is not just a struggle between Hong Kong and China. It is a struggle between freedom and a sectarian state. Hong Kong represents a value we should all protect.”
Weiwei was joined by Sam, an anonymous spokesperson for grassroots pro-democracy campaign group Stand with Hong Kong, who reflected on the harsh and shocking reality of fighting for freedom in Hong Kong.
Sam from Stand with Hong Kong, said: “The rule of law is a gift. It protects our freedom and stability. Without the rule of law, Hong Kong would not be the international city that it is today. After the introduction of the NSL, the rule of law has entirely crumbled... There is evil in a bystander.”
When asked what MPs can do to support Hongkongers and democracy, Sam said: MPs should “impose Magnitsky-style sanctions which can hold human rights violators accountable for their actions. These sanctions will also give all activists some hope that the situation will change. Please also consider giving Hongkongers a safer route to exercise their human rights and have some dignity”.
Ai Weiwei also said: “China is growing very fast. They do a lot of business around the world. This will make a lot of countries hesitant to stand with Hong Kong. Let’s see what will happen when there’s no voice for places like Hong Kong. Then the world will be dominated by China’s sectarian control. We cannot just react; we must show that we are determined to be on the right side of history.
“Beijing has a clear strategy. It will become the ultimate and most dominant power in the world. Humanity and freedom of speech: it’s down to the West to protect them.
“What Sam from SWHK has been saying is so important. To have the integrity to tell a sectarian regime that we are doing things differently because we understand rights and freedoms differently is very important. We have to say we’re different. We cannot be the same.”
Alistair Carmichael MP, Vice-Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong, said:
“This is about human rights. The thing about human rights is that they must be universal, or they’re meaningless. We do have an obligation to stand with Hong Kong... Campaigning often feels like you’re pushing water up a hill until all of a sudden, change happens.”
The event was attended by numerous parliamentarians and members of Stand with Hong Kong.
Please find the recording here: http://youtu.be/_eVR7Z-a-Xk
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