Statement to #SAVE12HKYOUTHS
To the McGill Community,
The Students’ Society of McGill University and McGill Stands for Hong Kong wholeheartedly and unequivocally condemn the recent detainment and trial without representation of twelve Hong Kong citizens. On August 23, 2020, the Chinese coast guard seized twelve Hong Kong nationals as they made their way to Taiwan, seeking asylum. We further condemn the collusion of the Hong Kong Police Force, who passively observed the detainment and later arrested nine individuals accused of assisting the asylum-seekers.
Since its handover from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China in 1997, Hong Kong has been promised autonomy, including a separate criminal justice system. Recent attempts by the Chinese government to undermine Hong Kong’s democratic autonomy have sparked widespread protests. Several of the detained asylum-seekers were protestors of the draconian National Security Law, imposed by Beijing to further curb freedom of speech in the name of preventing secession, subversion, and terrorism. The asylum-seekers have been denied lawyers, advocates, medicine, and contact with family members. Chinese human rights lawyers, hired to represent the twelve, have been harassed to drop the case, meaning the detainees can only seek representation by pre-approved lawyers from a government-provided list.
Around the world, students and community members alike are joining together, in mutual support, to denounce authoritarian regimes. The protests in Hong Kong are mirrored by pro-democracy movements in Thailand and Taiwan, both spurred by online pro-democracy movements like the Milk Tea Alliance. The SSMU and MSHK stand in solidarity with students and protestors in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Taiwan as they rally against the excessive and unlawful police violence used to curb basic human rights and freedoms.
We call on the Canadian Government to demand that the twelve asylum-seekers be released immediately to Hong Kong. If they are to stand trial, we call upon the Canadian Government to demand that they be tried in Hong Kong courts, granted legal representation, and allowed access to medication while detained.
Lastly, we urge students and community members to join us in demanding that the rule of law and freedom of speech be upheld in Hong Kong. You can show your support by contacting your Members of Parliament or donating to Hong Kong Watch, a UK-based charity that researches and monitors threats to Hong Kong’s basic freedoms, the rule of law and autonomy.
McGill Stands for Hong Kong
Ayo Ogunremi | Vice-President (External Affairs)
Brooklyn Frizzle | Vice-President (University Affairs)
Gifford Marpole | Vice-President (Finance)
Jemark Earle | President
Maheen Akter | Vice-President (Student Life)