The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) strongly condemns attempts to implicate members of its secretariat in the sham trial of UK citizen Jimmy Lai.
The naming of IPAC executive director Luke de Pulford and IPAC’s Japan director, Shiori Yamao (now Kanno), together with other human rights defenders as “co-conspirators” in Mr Lai’s trial is an extraordinary act of territorial overreach and unacceptable infringement of the rights of foreign citizens.
As nationals of free democratic countries, members of IPAC’s secretariat are fully entitled to exercise freedom of association and expression together with the IPAC network, which now unites over 350 cross-party legislators from 33 countries across five continents.
Far from constituting a crime, working with Mr Lai to uphold fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong would have been a matter of pride. In reality, however, evidence presented to prove that Mr Lai was responsible for IPAC’s Hong Kong activities is fabricated. He was not involved – directly or indirectly – in any of it.
This is the second time the Hong Kong authorities have sought to threaten members of our Alliance. In December 2020, a formal request to the Danish police from Hong Kong asking for help to investigate Uffe Elbæk and Katarina Ammitzbøll, at the time IPAC’s Co-Chairs in the Danish Parliament, who were accused of helping bounty hunted Ted Hui to flee Hong Kong.
We take this opportunity to abhor the treatment of Andy Li – known to many in IPAC as a peaceful promoter of Hong Kong democracy – who reportedly suffered torture in Shenzhen prison, and whose anticipated testimony in Mr Lai’s case carries a very high risk of coercion.
In the past year, G7 leaders called on China “not to conduct interference activities aimed at undermining the security and safety of our communities, the integrity of our democratic institutions and our economic prosperity”.
Now another red line has been crossed, and the ball is firmly in our court to ensure that these words have meaning. Statements of concern will be insufficient to halt Beijing’s escalating encroachments and increasingly bullish claims to extraterritoriality. Our governments must signal that we will not tolerate the export of Chinese Communist Party oppression, and must do so in a language Beijing understands.
We therefore call upon our governments to:
- Publicly condemn the National Security Law and associated degradation in Hong Kong’s freedoms;
- Impose targeted sanctions against PRC and Hong Kong officials responsible for the imposition and implementation of the NSL, including Chief Executive John Lee, and where legislation does not currently exist for these purposes, to enact it without delay;
- Suspend all remaining bilateral extradition treaties and mutual legal assistance treaties with the PRC and/or Hong Kong;
- Revise and issue business risk advice to reflect the new political reality in Hong Kong;
- Voice concern at the level of the United Nations, specifically through the upcoming Universal Periodic Review which is about to address the situation in the PRC.