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Canadian Government

responds to lawmakers’ call for “swift and emphatic action” to secure the release of pro-democracy activist Denise Ho and other activists arrested in Hong Kong

30 December 2021

Today, a cross-party group of Canadian lawmakers called on the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau MP, to undertake “swift and emphatic” action to ensure the release of pro-democracy activist and Canadian citizen Denise Ho.

On 29 December 2021, the Hong Kong Police arrested Denise Ho, alongside several journalists from StandNews, and the pro-democracy activist and Barrister Margaret Ng, under the Crime Ordinance for “conspiracy to produce seditious publications”.

A prominent singer and Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, Denise Ho grew up in Montreal and holds Canadian citizenship. In August 2020, the Hong Kong Arts Council cancelled her concerts citing pressure from pro-Beijing media which accused her of “colluding with foreign powers”.

Commenting on her arrest, Hong Kong Watch patron and Shadow Minister, Garnett Genius MP, said:

“The arbitrary detention of our citizens has not stopped. This arrest requires a swift and emphatic response.”

The Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Michael Chong MP, said:

“Canadian Denise Ho was arrested in Hong Kong for supporting an independent, free press. Her arrest, among 6, violates the 1984 Sino-British treaty. We can’t continue to turn a blind eye to Beijing’s egregious violations of international law.”

Former Liberal Senator Jim Munson, a patron of Hong Kong Watch, said when it comes to Hong Kong it is “Time to speak in one voice Canada.”

Jenny Kwan MP, the New Democratic Party’s Spokesperson for Multiculturalism, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, called for Canada to work closely with ally countries to condemn these persecutions and to coordinate further action to support the people of Hong Kong.

Senator Leo Housakos, a patron of Hong Kong Watch, wrote to Global Affairs Canada inquiring whether the Hong Kong authorities have allowed Canadian officials full access to provide consular services to Denise Ho.

The former Minister of Justice and Liberal Member of Parliament, Irwin Cotler, also a patron of Hong Kong Watch strongly condemned the arrest of Denise Ho and called for her immediate release alongside the other pro-democracy activists and journalists that have been detained.

In response to the arrests, Melanie Joy MP, the Foreign Affairs Minister said:

“Canada will always stand up to support democracy and freedom of the press. We are deeply concerned by the arrests in Hong Kong of current and former board and staff members from Stand News, including Canadian citizen and activist Denise Ho.

Freedom of media and expression remain cornerstones of democracy and essential to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. We will continue to speak out and denounce violations of these freedoms, in partnership with our international allies.

Our consular officials are engaged and stand ready to provide assistance on the ground. We are monitoring the situation very closely.”

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