HJS Report Launch: “20 Years After Hong Kong’s Handover”

DATE: 12:00-13:00, 31st October 2017

LOCATION: Committee Room 3A, House of Lords, Houses of Parliament, SW1A 0AA

SPEAKERS: Dr John Hemmings, Dr. Malte Philipp Kaeding, Benedict Rogers, Edward Tin-kei Leung


Lord Alton

Good afternoon! It’s now midday and we only have the room for one hour. I want to be quite brisk about this in getting us off straight away! So that we can then have some time for questions as well.

I got to remind you that there is no photography allowed in House of Lords committee room. If you do take photographs, I get arrested and sent to the Tower of London. We will then have to organise a campaign and Sir Geoffrey Knight will have to defend me…So please don’t do that [laughter].

It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome you on behalf of the Henry Jackson Society to the House of Lords. When I was asked by John if I would be willing to chair this, I immediately said yes not least like many of you. I’ve been concerned to see…the deterioration in the two systems one country agreements made back in 1997. And which we all hoped would lead to a genuinely respectful relationship between the mainland of China and Hong Kong. And I think everything that has followed in recent months anyway..in recent months. Starts now pointing in a different direction, a different trajectory, and I think all of us.

Now, people much more knowledgeable then me will address this. But in the question time Dr. Hemmings (John Hemmings) who is the founding director of Asia Studies at the Center for the Henry Jackson Society is willing to take the first of the questions when we get there. We have at the moment 3 scheduled speakers, although we may be joined by 2 other contributors. It’s a bit of a movable feast, but if that happens I’ll alert you when we get there.

But I’m going to call on Dr. Malte Philipp Kaeding to start us off. He’s a lecturer in international politics at the University of Surrey, we will then hear from Benedict Roger’s he’s the deputy chair of the Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission. And then from Edward Tin-kei Leung, he’s a Hong Kong political activist.

So over to you Malte!

Dr Malte Philipp Kaeding

Thank you very much Lord Alton.

Thank you very much for having me here! I want to thank Dr. Hemmings and my co-editor for this report. So I am very happy to be here and definitely say a few words! John asked to focus on my chapter, so I will give a very brief overview of my key arguments and I think we have more time in the Q&A to focus on the details.

What I want to say in my report in my chapter. Is that in order to understand Hong Kong’s situation at the moment, we need to look at the immediate aftermath of the handover. So we have to understand, that most of us aware of this. That Beijing (the Central Government in Beijing) has very strong control over Hong Kong, and therefore they have devised strategies to limit institutional access in Hong Kong. And I think they did this through 3 ways, which is now very apparent. And the first one was through procedures, so Edward can talk a little bit about this later..what happened to him last summer. Then basic law interpretation. And now through deterring sentences, so influencing the rule of law. I think we will talk about this in more detail later as well.

So my point is my chapter, is that we have to go back to 1997 and 1999 to understand how this strategy began. Righter after 1997, the new legislative council, the provisional legislative council which is not directly elected. Did reinstate the public order ordinance, which was phased out in the last years of colonial rule under Chris Patton. And this public order ordinance has become the key tool, for the government to restrict parts of expression (political expression) and protest in Hong Kong. And the 2nd major shift which I think is often overlooked, was the abolishment of the municipal councils or the urban council..for example.

And this gave a lot of power to the District Council, and district councils if you will remember Hong Kong politics. They don’t have a very obvious role in terms of power. They are more advisory roles, and take care of things like public hygiene and things like this..The interesting thing about District Councils, is that during the late 2000’s (2008-2010) were pushed in much more prominent position in the political structure of Hong Kong. And in 2010, when we had the electoral reform at the heart of politics in Hong Kong. And the problem with this is of course, is that access to District Council’s because of their grassroots activities is much more easy to be controlled and a strong bias towards more resourceful pro-Beijing parties.

And therefore, my conclusion…looking at these changes was that..What in 2010 looked like a democratic breakthrough.. extending the franchise in Hong Kong, wad what we could call regressive Democratization. This is one of the hallmarks of the last 20 years, and especially the last 10 years. That we have nominally democratic reforms, that we have more franchise (this was 2010-2014). But actually if we look closely the implemented structures and institutions. They are implemented in a way that will give an unfair bias. Towards actors in Hong Kong who are inclined to ether favour a slower pace for democratisation or authoritarian rule. Which are parties more towards the pro-establishment realm.

So the result of this was the space for pan-democratic parties, traditional, moderate pan-democratic parties has been limited. And that the feeling of no real reform has been undertaken is very widespread. And the reaction of course towards this is a decline of moderate pan-democratic parties and a rise in more radical parties. And of course a resurgence in civil society activism. And I think we will learn more about the motivation later from Edward.

So just to wrap this up, in my chapter I try to explain this current situation of polarized Hong Kong, the loss of hope of a whole generation, in any democratic progress. With the institutional changes of the early handover (post-handover) period. Where we have institutions in place which are not allowing for real participation, and in the 2nd area we now have the public order ordinance in place which makes it very easy to restrict any form of non-mainstream political participation.

Thank you very much (09:28)

Lord Alton

Thank you much Dr. Kaeding! That was a very synched and helpful introduction. Ben.

Benedict Rogers

Thank you very much! Well can I start by thanking the Henry Jackson Society very much for putting together this excellent report. And Lord Alton for hosting this!

Let me start off by saying, I’m not holding a yellow umbrella but I did very deliberately put on a yellow tie! In solidarity with the people of Hong Kong today. I lived in Hong Kong for the first 5 years after the handover, from 1997-2002. And I worked there as a journalist. Although during those first 5 years, I could already see some very subtle early warning signs of problems to come. I certainly never imagined that we would see the kind of threats to basic freedoms in Hong Kong that we are seeing today.

And I have the dubious distinction as some of you may be aware of 3 weeks ago having been denied entry to Hong Kong. And I’ll come back to that towards the end of my remarks. But I never imagined that I would be denied entry to the place I have lived in for 5 years.  Rather than simply repeat what I’ve written in the chapter in the report which you can read.  I thought I’d obviously summarise it.. But I’d thought I would do it in part with pictures..So I have a PowerPoint which I’ll ask a colleague here to go through fairly quickly. But if we go to the next slide….

As well as living in Hong Kong, I have also lived and travelled widely in China. And I think I had hoped up until a short time ago. That China as it opens up economically might and forginally liberalise politically. But we’ve seen in the last 5 years under Xi Jinping’s Presidency. That has absolutely not happened. Indeed, it appears to be reversing quite significantly on many levels, and that of course effects Hong Kong.

So what are Britain’s moral and legal obligations to Hong Kong. In March of 1996, the Prime Minster at the time john Major visited Hong Kong and he said to Hong Kong people at that time “if there was any suggestion of the joint declaration, we would have a duty to pursue every legal and other avenue available to us.” “Hong Kong will never have to walk alone.”

We do have legal responsibilities under the Sino-British declaration, a treaty lodged at the United Nations. Hong Kong’s freedoms are guaranteed under its mini-constitution “the basic law.” And of course the whole basis where Hong Kong was handed over to China, was on the basis of “one country-two systems.” And yet as I will go to describe we’ve seen those freedoms threatened. If we will go to the next slide…I think the turning point perhaps in freedoms in Hong Kong..of course there was some chipping away before this…but 3 years ago the Umbrella Movement. One of the most inspiring mass protest movements anywhere in the world in recent history. Inspiring because of its very peacefulness and orderliness…You saw young students doing their homework in tents in the streets as they were    simultaneously protesting. It really couldn’t have been more peaceful.

And it  was at that point that I began to reengage with Hong Kong issues, having been away from Hong Kong for some years. And having thought that Hong Kong was going to be okay. When I saw the crackdown on the Umbrella Movement, I began to get involved again.

And so if we go to the next slide…the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission (I am Deputy Chair of) held a big inquiry on China, and included a section on Hong Kong. And we received evidence from the founder of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party Martin Lee (and if we go to the next slide) An-San Chan, the former head of the civil service in Hong Kong. And when you hear people like An-San Chan who were very much a part of a part of the establishment, someone who was not a sort of radical protestor. When you hear her, together with Martin Lee. Saying in evidence to our commission that “precious rights and freedoms guaranteed under One Country-Two Systems.” “Such as freedom of the press, publication, and academic thought-are being chipped away.” Her and Martin Lee went on to say “the Hong Kong government has shown itself to be completely powerless to uphold the fundamental rights guaranteed in the basic law.” When you have An-San Chan saying that you know there is a problem. When you have Martin Lee writing in the New York times after the crackdown on the Umbrella Movement that and I quote “At 76 years old-I never expected to be tear gassed in Hong Kong, my once peaceful home” Like the many of other 10’s of thousands of calm, non-violent protestors in the Hong Kong streets. I was shocked when the pro-democracy crowd was met by throngs of police officers in full riot gear, carrying weapons, and wantonly firing canisters of tear gas.”

“After urging the crowd to remain clam under provocation, I got hit by a cloud of burning fumes. The protestors preserved, they ran away when gassed, washed their faces, and returned with raised hands. But the police continued to escalate the crisis. Their aggressive actions hardened the resolve of Hong Kongers’. Many of them too young to vote, to defend our freedoms. This includes the long promised right to elect our leaders,” Which the umbrella Movement was all about, the search for universal suffrage.

We also took evidence from Joshua Wong, the well-known student leader of those protests. And later last year, if you go to the net slide. Lord Alton among others, met with Nathan Lau. Who became Hong Kong’s youngest ever elected legislator. Elected at the age of 23. But what we’ve seen subsequently, is his disqualification from the legislature along with some of his colleagues. Simply because (according to the authorities) failed to take his oath properly. All he did if I understand correctly, was to take the oath and quote Mahatma Ghandi, at the end of his oath. And that was decided by a court of law in Hong Kong that it disqualified him.

And of course earlier just a couple of months ago, Nathan Lau and Joshua Wong were then jailed. They have been realised within the last week on bail. Which is welcome although it is of course quite possible that they may go back to prison. But when they were jailed, one of their colleagues Derick Lam said “in the past when we chance realised political prisoners we were referring to those in mainland China. But now it is Hong Kong.”

We also received evidence from people like Hong Kong’s retired Cardinal-Cardinal Joseph Zhen. And from the very senior judge, Justice Bacari. Who has warned for some years of storm clouds over the judiciary. And threats to the independence of the judiciary quoted in full in the chapter.

You go to the next slide, so the Conservative Human Rights Commission report concluded that the One Country-Two Systems society is seriously threatened. That was a year and a half ago. The chapter in the Henry Jackson Society report provides further confirmation of our concerns. Just some brief examples. According to Reporters without Borders. Hong Kong, in the Survey of World Press Freedom has fallen from 18th in the World in 2002 to 73rd in 2015. If we go the next slide. We’ve seen probably the most chilling example of the threat to Hong Kong’s freedoms, the abduction of Hong Kong booksellers and publishers. Three of whom were detained in mainland China, 1 (a British citizen) Lee Bau was abducted from Hong Kong territory. And one Guamen Hai (whose daughter is pictured here), is still missing and he was abducted from a 3rd country. He was a Hong Kong citizen (with Swedish nationality) and he was abducted from Thailand by mainland Chinese agents. We launched that report with Angela Gai, with other speakers. Including the former governor of Hong Kong-Chris Patton. Who has been one of the very few outspoken voices in this country for Hong Kong.

I wrote an article after the launch of the report headlined “Hong Kong is in urgent need of life support.” “And the United Kingdom has a responsibility to act.” If you’ll go to the next slide. When Joshua, Nathan, and Alex Chow were jailed a litter was released signed by 25 imminent international figures. Including Lord Alton and Sir Geoffrey Nice who is here. And that contributed to highlighting their case. If we can go to the next slide. Received a lot of media attention, and it was followed up (on the next slide) by 12 international lawyers including the former Lord Chancellor..Lord Faulkner.

And if we go through the few remaining slides fairly quickly. We staged protests here in London to call for their release, I wrote letters to them in prison as did others. And we had protests here in London on the 3rd Anniversary. If we go to the 3rd slide and hold there for a moment.

I just will draw to a close, on perhaps a more personal note by coming back to what I started saying which was…my own very comparatively small but nerveless direct experience of the encroachment of the freedoms in Hong Kong. Being denied entry into Hong Kong pales in significance to those who are jailed for their beliefs, those who are abducted for their beliefs. But it is nerveless not what I expected. I had received some messages via 3rd party from the Chinese Embassy in the days leading up to going to Hong Kong warning me that they were unhappy and that I shouldn’t go. I took the view 9in consultation with others) if I said privately “well the Chinese Embassy said I shouldn’t go so I wouldn’t go”.” I’d be doing the very thing that I have criticised others for doing.

Firstly, I didn’t know if they were idle threats and if I went I would find that I am actually allowed entry, or if they were serious (which it turned out they were). Then I thought “they need to do it in the full eyes of the world so the world can see.” The interference of Beijing in Hong Kong’s immigration, which is one of the areas under One Country-Two Systems that Hong Kong has control over. And so I got to Hong Kong Airport, I got to the immigration counter. The woman put my details into the computer, and the computer flashed up. I was taken aside, and a couple of hours later I was back on a plane.

Well I wrote an article on the plane back from Hong Kong to Bangkok which is headlined “Why the World Must Wake Up to China’s Threat to Freedom in Hong Kong. If you go to the next slide, rather to my surprise the whole thing escalated much beyond my control. The Foreign Secretary issued a statement, which is one of the few times the British Government has spoken out very strongly, and he said “Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and its rights and freedoms are central to it’s way of life and should be fully respected.” They summoned the Chinese Ambassador to the foreign office (in the next slide), discussed and raised in parliament. A US Congressman, Congressman Chris Smith issued a statement. And the next couple of slides, to my amazement a member of the legislative council had the courage to stage a protest in legoco much my embarrassment and an enlarged photograph of him and me which he held up. The first time I’ve ever experienced that.

And the next slide, people in the streets held up banners in protest. And if we go briefly, just in the midst of all of this Joshua Wong managed to get a message to me from prison. In which he said “Let us stand firm to work and campaign for political prisoners.”

I close with just very final thoughts. I mentioned Guiman Hai’s case earlier, Guiman Hai it was been announced that has been freed. And yet his daughter still has had no contact with him, it’s very likely that he has not been freed but has been disappeared again. And we had protests for him just a couple of weeks ago.  The Global times, China’s propaganda mouthpiece carried a piece about my case. Which to my complete astonishment, they said these words. “Every country has a right to deny anyone who poses a serious threat to the security, stability, and interests of the nation.” I read this and thought “I don’t know who they are talking about.” (Laughter in background). All I was doing was going to Hong Kong to meet a few friends over tea and coffee, lunch and dinner. And if that is a serious threat to the security of the nation then I am truly astonished.

Let me end with the final slide, I am delighted to announce today that we have (earlier today) released the announcement of the launch of a new organization to campaign to defend Hong Kong’s freedoms. It’s called “Hong Kong watch.” We are privileged to have 5 patrons from across the political spectrum, the former Foreign Secretaries, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Liberal Democrat Leader Paddy Ashdown, the Labour Member of Parliament Katherine West. And I’m really pleased that 2 of our 5 patrons are with us in the room. Lord Alton and Sir Geoffrey Knight. The threats to Hong Kong’s freedoms, the things I’ve outlined, the things I’ve detailed in the chapter of this report. And colleagues and trustees. And supporters of Hong Kong watcher here in the room. Could speak to us afterwards. But please…join with us in defending the freedoms that make Hong Kong what it is and that are in danger.

Thank you very much.

Lord Alton

Thank you very much Ben. Ben has travelled with me to North Korea, and to Burma and he is a serious threat. (Laughter in background). But not to security but to totalitarianism and tyranny. And long may you continue to do that. Thank you very much.

You mentioned Jason, Joshua, and Nathan..and I was privileged to meet them both last year. Along with Nathan. I share something in common with him in that I was the baby of the House when I was first elected to the house of Commons. And I said to him “We babies of the house got to stick together.”

From the first time I visited Hong Kong which was right after I was elected to the House of Commons, I had in my constituency in Liverpool..I had quite a large Hong Kong/Chinese community, many of whom had suffered under Mao and had escaped to Hong Kong then finally settled in the United Kingdom. And the very idea that the things that they (and people like them) had escaped from should now be visited on them from an institutionalised manner…Is something U am not just sad about, I am angry about…and distressed about. And Whatever we can do in our own small ways we should do.

But we are very privileged to have a third person who has happily not been put on bail or is in prison. But Edward is also taking risks by being here, speaking like this today and we are very glad to have you.

Thank you Edward.

Edward Tin-kei Leung

Actually, I am on bail…(Lord Alton: On Right!-Laughter from background)

Good afternoon my name is Edward Leung. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity! To speak again in this historic building. It’s truly an honour to be a part of this report launch.

We are actually the last generation that experienced both the British rule, and the Chinese rule. We grew up with the perception that Hong Kong is a civilised society. Based on the rule of law, with a steady path of (two words) democracy. As our universal suffrage is almost by the basic law. We understand that it is not supposed to be easy, but we don’t really expect it to be suffering. When the principle of our basic law, Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong! Was reduced to “patriotic Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong.” Which was again emphasised by (inaudible) recently. The fate of Hong Kong is almost determined. Our executive, legislative, and judiciary had be patriotic. As a result, only the patriots can be the candidates for chief executive. If you are not, you even maybe thrown out of your office. Even though you are a duly elected lawmaker

So because of these additional vague and arbitrary requirements set by Beijing. Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people, took to the streets these years. And the rest is history now. So there is some questions hanging over my head. How could you precisely define what being “patriotic” is? I mean..I thought of (name inaudible) in China-Is he patriotic? Does he love the country? If he does? Does the country love him? I don’t know the necessity to differate patriotism from martyrs. If a Hong Konger is to enjoy his political right to stand as a candidate. He has to love the country, love Hong Kong. In this case..really…Is his love superficial? It’s because of these questions, I want to know the rationale behind. So this essay in my report, mainly focuses on the ruling ideology behind which we are being ruled in Hong Kong. So this is the Chinese nationalism, it has been created by more than Chinese intellectuals, and politicians, and revolutionaries. And this ruling idea, groups different ethnic groups under one entity. The “Chinese Nation.” (Translated into Chinese)

This modern nation as time goes by, following the death of Mao, the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It has become the most dominant influential ideology of PRC. Some people may argue..well China is not really a nation-state..A culture-state, a civilisation-state. But according to the tendency these years, I think China is becoming more and more like a nation-state. Because of all these nationalistic sentiments in the country. Ummm..If we are going to understand Chinese nationalism, we have to understand the narrative of it. China’s nationalist narratives are comprised on two key elements-namely civilisation and humiliation.

On the one hand the assertion of over 5,000 years of glorious Chinese civilisation constitutes national pride. On the one hand the education of 100 years of national humiliation. It brings national shame. Both psychologies are necessary for telling a national tale of the rise and fall of the Middle Kingdom (Zhongguo) or China. And above all another rise today. To seek legitimacy, one has to prove its ability to get rid of this national humiliation. So we have heard the slogan like the “Chinese Dream”, “the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation” Recently (inaudible) thought up by CS-a national plan. So it is very important in its grand plan of national salvation.

So in this narrative, where is Hong Kong? Hong Kong is very important in this narrative because if the opium War marks the start of the Century of Humiliation…Then Hong Kong epitomises China’s shame. So by capturing Hong Kong, establishing its authority. It makes the end of this humiliation. So on the 1st of July in 1997, during the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, in the eyes of Chinese nationalists, it is the triumph of PRC over imperialism…While this national narrative might be confusing to Chinese nationalists.

But to Hong Kong people, it is not that confusing. During the negotiation over Hong Kong’s future after 1997, more than hundred thousand Hong Konger’s left Hong Kong. And in order to restore the confidence among Hong Konger’s…the Basic Law was drafted and 3 principles were promoted. High degree autonomy, Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong, One Country-Two-Systems. And the way of life was not to promise change for 50 years. Even though we have this Basic Law, because the dream of a democratic China was crushed in 1989 in Tiananmen Square. Hong Konger’s did not really have a choice, except leaving or staying. For those who stayed, the only strategy I had is to strike for democracy under this constitutional framework. One Country Two Systems. Because if Hong Kong was a colony, then the way to decolonise it is to exercise the right to self-determination, but of course Hong Kong was removed off this list. So in order to do that, the implementation of universal suffrage is very important as a means to internal self-determination. So it has been in our minds for years, to achieve democracy in Hong Kong. To stop the potential of the abuse of government power. So.. However, our friends were crushed today because the Beijing officials have stated very clear that the ruling 831 from 3 years ago will remain unchanged forever and forever. So the only option left is to accept it. To accept the political screening as a so called..universal suffrage maybe with “Chinese Characteristics.”

So, it is the only choice I had. But I don’t think we really have to submit to it. It is the only way to protect the autonomy in Hong Kong. To build an accountable government, so that we could have good governance in Hong Kong. So that we could enjoy our political rights without intervention. It is the only strategy I had, and we do not want to give up.

All in all national humiliation as a negative psychology of Chinese nationalism gives CCP a role to put forward an unchallengeable plan of national sufferation when its economy and military development continue the huge labour force and patriotic sentiments behind has strengthened PLC like never before. So China in the past we would call it under the one party rule and because of this narrative it’s now under one man rule today.

So if one is to understand Chinas unlimited power to manipulate domestic politics by issuing a court of arms on behalf of the Chinese nation and break the international norms in the way of this evolving agreements like the Sino-British joint declaration, Hong Kong under Chinese rule is certainly a window to gaze through. Thank you very much.

Lord Alton

Thank you very much Edward for that very powerful and eloquent testimony that you have given to us today and I was struck about what you said about true patriotism actually being based on love and not being based on the decisive ways in which people to oppress people or impose and ideology on them. It brought to mind a phrase which was one used by a very young member of the House of Commons in the 19th Century who had opposed the Opium wars and a period of our own history but it brings shame on us it is the other side of the coin of humiliation but this young member of parliament who went on to become Prime Minister four times said that a love of power has to be replaced by the power to love. That was really me at Gladstone and I think in these very tense and difficult times we must remember that all of us have I suspect who are gathered in this room, have a great love of the Chinese people and the love of Chinese civilisation and how one disentangles that to enable people like you to be able to express that love through true patriotism in the future as I have no doubt that you will be able to do so long as your friends around the world continue to give support.

I’m going to ask a question and John I am going to use the opportunity, I don’t know if any other word is suitable, the opportunity that being the chair gives you to ask the first question and then over to the floor but I would like to throw this at John if I may. During the debates in the 1990s which I took part in regularly when we were dealing with the immigration bill that was dealing with Hong Kong rights and nationalities I moved amendments which were defeated but would have given the right to all Hong Kong citizens to be able to live in the United Kingdom if this kind of trajectory where to come about.  I said I very much doubted that most people would want to take up the opportunity but at least it would be there and it would be a reminder to Beijing that there would always be another way forward.

Now we all know that the issue with immigration and so on has become somewhat toxic but in the context of the Commonwealth and after all the great Commonwealth nations include Australia, Canada and many other vibrant, thriving democracies. What is to stop The Henry Jackson Society from campaigning that at the future conference, the Commonwealth has a government conference which is coming up in April, what is to stop the UK government putting resolutions before them or through other nations asking that an insurance policy be provided in Commonwealth countries so if the leave question that Edward just addressed rather than the staying question, if it became impossible for people to continue or felt that it was impossible they would have the right to leave and how would that impact on Beijing, would it moderate the behaviour or inflame the situation?

Dr John Hemmings

It’s a very good question. I know the Commonwealth Summit at the moment is likely to be about economics I’m sure that no-one in the audience needs to be reminded that everything is about Brexit, everything is about the UKs economic situation and that’s the driving force in Whitehall unfortunately at the moment. There is an aspect to the Summit that will have what you might called ideological presence and that is the fact that a good half of the population of the Commonwealth is from India a vibrant democracy, for all its faults and the democratic system has an extremely vibrant free press, an incredible party system that you know pushes in all sorts of interesting directions but there is of course the legacy of the Commonwealth in imperial terms.

So what we have to do ourselves is understand where we stand on this and how can we shape the narrative so that it doesn’t look like London trying to dictate to Beijing what to do because that’s a very quick response from states who have had that historical issue as raised by Edward.

If I many expand a little bit to the remarks I was going to say. If you have an opportunity to read the report, read it it’s on our website as a PDF. We try to make the space for advocates of human dignity, people who want to call out what Beijing is quietly, incrementally doing but we also try to maintain it within a space of rigorous scholarship. In terms of reflecting on how and this is a question maybe I will turn to the panel and it’s a question that has troubled me for years is how do we fight China? How do we not fight them because clearly in the discourse of violence you will never win against China but how do we fight them emotionally in the ideological battlefield and we do have an excellent example in the Cold War in a sense that we had many non-violent movements who just took it much more than we did in the West. Going to Prague last year and sitting on the hilltop with a friend of mine who was a student during the uprising and pointed out where the bullet holes were in the walls from the police. I was humbled, absolutely humbled that we have these normal facets of human dignity and the ability to choose your representatives in government, the ability to hear what is happening from a slightly independent media and judges that aren’t simply responding to political nuances. Those are givens and thank God we are still able to sit down within the modern world where we do have a hegemonic growing China and still debate these issues.

So all we can do is you know peacefully resist, spread the word, stay true. In terms of persuading the UK government to look beyond its very pressing economic policies over the Summit it is something that we could look into, anything is worth shining a light on in a time like this. If you do get a copy of the report you know do send it to people you know it’s the type of thing unfortunately we see very few people to speak on this because they have other issues but I think it is such a clear issue in terms of a wrong being done right now. Some people have very modest expectations on what they want from their state or from the one country. Anyway I have spoken too much really the floor should be open to.

Lord Alton

If anyone would like to speak could you please raise your hand and if you are from an organisation perhaps you could say that as well as saying who you are please. Gentleman here.

Question 1

Yeah I’m Ken Flagg living in the Outer Hebrides. Is not the fundamental problem here that rich government’s motivations and strategic interests always state Presidents over human rights? I mean given the example of Tony Blair recalling the Ambassador, Craig Murray from Uzbekistan for speaking out about human rights there – they were bad guys but our bad guys.

Lord Alton

I would agree with that, I don’t know if anyone wants to comment on that…

Audience member

We agree

Lord Alton

Okay moving on, the next question please

Question 2

Yes I am here in a private capacity but my own company we advise companies in doing business in China and I have a Singapore and Chinese son in law and three Singaporean/half Chinese granddaughters and they know how to control the Chinese but that’s by the way. I am looking forward now we are all agreeing at how bad China is in every respect pretty well looking forward what is going to happen is there going to be a sudden death, sorry that’s the wrong thing to say actually, but when China is totally in control of Hong Kong nobody seems to be looking forward, is there any history that China will actually listen or are you just making things worse basically but what is going to happen in the future?

Lord Alton

Edward would you like to kick off in answering that.

Edward Tin-kei Leung

Well as we said the future is very gloomy but as an activist, as a politician in Hong Kong I believe in mobilisation, mass mobilisation still even though we are facing loads of difficulties, lots of us have been in jail, facing the jail in the future, we still believe we have to show up, speak up so that we can demonstrate to the world and most importantly to Hong Kongers’ that we are not deterred. We understand that we well the cost of protesting is quite high now in Hong Kong so we have to be smart use some more less costly approach to voice our opinions and also because lots of us are being oppressed, lots of us are being barred, thrown out of offices I see the hope of illuminating the misunderstandings within the opposition in Hong Kong in the past. We are all oppressed why should we argue for some minimal stuff so I think we still have hope because we realise that only by standing together united that our voice could be so big that the world could hear. I’m seeing lots of signs of this new unity being built up in Hong Kong.

Lord Alton

Thank you Edward, Malte.

Dr. Malte Philipp Kaeding

Yeah I would like to echo what Edward was saying I think it’s very important to keep hope and if you look at the data in terms of support for Chinese Nationalism as Edward was saying it is very, very low amongst the young generation so actually with these oppressive strategies you can gain control at least short to medium term but not long term and we don’t know what is going to happen. China does look stable but everybody said this of the Soviet Union as well that it looked very stable so I think for the time being keeping hope or trying to achieve unity among people promoting democracy in Hong Kong I think is the main issue.

Lord Alton

Thank you I always felt that the two systems in one country maybe the Hong Kong system was ultimately the one we would see triumph and I still in my heart hope that that will be so. I agree with what John was saying by the way about the importance of encouraging people to stay firm and be heroic in the way that Edward has described. Those who were the monitors of the whole Helsinki process which ultimately brought about the complete changes that we saw with very few shots ever being fired in the end to bring about in what is now the Czech Republic it was a rebellion revolution in the end and one must hope that when change does come it will come in that way. Benedict would you like to add something.

Benedict Rogers

Yes two very brief comments that relate to the last question and the one before and that’s about the role of the international community in approaching China. I think there is a big myth out there which is sadly believed by many policy makers that to do business with China you have to be silent on human rights and I actually think that’s completely wrong. When Xi Jinping came to London a couple of years ago there was an American business man who had been in Shanghai for many, many years knows China really well, lives there. His phrase stuck in my mind he said if you act like a punting puppy China will think they have you on a leash. In other words China does not respect you when you cower down to them.

The prime example of one world leader who’s not done that who has spoken out on human rights regularly is Germanys Angela Merkel and Germany is still Chinas biggest trading partner in Europe so I think she’s shown that you can stand up for your values and still trade.

The second very brief thing I would like to say is although it is impossible to make any direct coloration between international actions and subsequent events there have been a number of occasions were people here in London for example Fiona Bruce who is a member of parliament who spoke out on the case of a lawyer who had been arrested and a few weeks later he was rather to our surprise released. I’m not suggesting that my small efforts in the case of Joshua Wong contributed to this but it was interesting that just a few weeks after the statement by 25 international figures and 12 international lawyers they were subsequently released on bail pending appeal. You can’t say for certain what contributions those actions made but I think you can guarantee that if the world is silent you won’t see those steps of small progress.

Lord Alton

Thank you, gentleman over there, oh lady here first.

Question 3

Ben you spoke about some of the cases of political prisoners in Hong Kong you mentioned specifically the publishers which I know have gotten a lot of attention and Edward you mentioned that you are even on bail and I’m just curious if you could elaborate a little bit more on specifically the situation of political prisoners because it does seem to be something that is getting more attention obviously in China but now in Hong Kong. I’m just curious about the numbers of political prisoners and if there are individuals, activities or a degree of publicity or exposure that just seems to be the red line and that compels the authorities to put people into jail.

Lord Alton

Thank you Edward

Edward Tin-kei Leung

I think there is almost over 100 Hong Kong people facing charges or being in jail because of the protests in the last few years and I would like to inaudible some example for example because of the protests I get 13 months but amongst those protesters, I know some of them, they were inaudible leaders of that protest outside the legislator and is name is Raphael and he is a very peaceful protestor who has lots of self-restraint. He even stopped the protestors from storming in the legislator building however he was accused of being violent, inciting violence. Another example is Joshua and Nathans cases because during the court of appeal over their review of sentencing the judge tried to find new findings in those existing evidences who were already determined judge by the magistrate. So it’s not the legal procedure we have known and also the judge try to argue that the slogan they use during their protest nights before the occupied movement consists of violent words like because they were saying reclaiming the civic square and in Chinese the word reclaiming he said is kind of violent.

So even though these people are peaceful protestors who have lots of self-restraint and try to stop the others from doing violent behaviours they were all sentenced for more than a year. Also in the ruling of the judge, the judge clearly stated there is a kind of unhealthy win in society that is the so called achieving justice by violating the law so he has to make a very deterrent sentence to stop these kind of protestors. So none of the points of view of the principle or the values of civil disobedience were considered in the ruling, none of it so.

Lord Alton

Thank you Edward. To show how law abiding we are the gentleman just came in here to remind us that we have to be out in 3 minutes time to let the next group come in. Rather than cut you off though could you make brief comments as I have saw a gentleman and a gentleman there so very quickly make your point and if there’s not time to answer it perhaps on the way down as you are all going for a photo call at the minute.

Question 4

Very quick question to Benedict really inaudible and journalists do you feel that you have cross-party political support on this issue?

Benedict Rogers

Yes I mean the patrons and its growing yes.

Question 5

Inaudible.. I just want to ask Edward one question do you think Hong Kongers’ inaudible… over recent political movements has reached a gridlock for example do they still value a free autonomous society?

Edward Tin-kei Leung

Yes of course well sometimes we are bound by the gloomy future, by the coming of the national security and law and order manipulations but sometimes we have to look back we have to look at ourselves and look at history, well if there is democracy in Hong Kong we could be the ruling party, we are the majority. In the past few elections the pro-democracy term got the majority of the votes so this is the strength of our Hong Kongers’ in civil society. When people were sentenced millions of Hong Kong dollars were raised by Hong Kongers’ so I think we still have the strength to carry on but it’s natural to be blinded or to be upset or desperate but we have to change.

Lord Alton

Thank you Edward well for what it’s worth in my time here the people I’ve seen who’ve paid a price buy being willing to stand and be heard ‘not to speak is to speak and not to act is to act’ and I think people remember there is a collective memory of those who are willing to pay a price when it mattered and I’m sure that many will always recall that in the future years and my hope is one day you will be visiting Britain in a high ranking position as one of those who will be leading Hong Kong in the future. Now just before you go off for your photograph, John.

Dr John Hemmings

Just I wanted to say if anybody is interested in having a group photograph we will be meeting in front of the George the fifth statue which is the opposite side of the street from Parliament you’re more than welcome to join us and to chat with us. We do have some printed copies of the report, please ask my colleagues standing there if you would like one. Could we please give a big thank you to Lord Alton and all our speakers


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