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Former ministers and senior members of the UK legal community

Urge the Foreign Secretary to hold China to account for the ongoing assault on the free press in Hong Kong

31 December 2021

Today, a group of former Cabinet Ministers and senior members of the UK legal community have written to the UK Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss MP, to urge her to hold China to account for its ongoing assault on a free press in Hong Kong.

These letters follow the closure of StandNews, one of the few remaining pro-democracy media outlets in Hong Kong, and the decision by the Hong Kong Police to arrest several StandNews journalists and the Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Denise Ho and Margaret Ng on the grounds of “conspiracy to publish seditious materials”.

Former Foreign Secretaries Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Lord Owen of Plymouth and the last Governor of Hong Kong Lord Patten of Barnes wrote to the Foreign Secretary urging her to ‘speak out in the strongest possible terms about this incident in particular and the deteriorating press freedom situation more generally in Hong Kong, and to consider whether the time has come to impose targeted sanctions in response to the Chinese regime’s repeated, blatant and severe violations of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and international human rights obligations.’

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws QC, who is the Director of the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, called on the UK Government to do all it can to secure the release of the seven individuals arrested and raised particular concern over the arrest of Margaret Ng, ‘who as well as being one of Hong Kong’s top lawyers is also a British citizen, and the recipient of the International Bar Association’s award for outstanding contribution to human rights.’

Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the former Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, has written to the Foreign Secretary encouraging her to do everything possible ‘to urge the authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong to release the seven people who have been arrested, to drop the outrageous charges made against them, and to take steps to defend media freedom in Hong Kong.’


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