Statement protesting HK prosecution of activists

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or here for the Chinese version:

Statement by International and Hong Kong Scholars to Protest against Hong Kong SAR Government’s Prosecution of Activist Scholars and Umbrella Movement Participants

As scholars and global citizens, we are alarmed and outraged by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s decision to launch criminal prosecutions against nine activist scholars, former student leaders, former and current legislators involved in the 2014 Umbrella Movement. They are: Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Professor Chan Kin-man, Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, former student leaders Cheung Sau-yin and Chung Yiu-wah, lawmakers Tanya Chan and Shiu Ka Chun, Wong Ho-ming of the League of Social Democrats and Lee Wing-tat of the Hong Kong Democratic Party. Using peaceful means of civil disobedience, with participation by more than one million Hong Kong citizens, these activists joined a 79-day occupation movement demanding universal suffrage for the election of the SAR legislature and the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Yet, they now face criminal charges of “conspiracy to commit public nuisance, inciting others to commit public nuisance, and inciting people to incite others to commit public nuisance”. Each charge carries a ¬maximum penalty of seven years in jail.

There is widespread concern in Hong Kong that this recent decision is just the opening salvo of more political persecutions against academics, students and citizens involved in the Umbrella Movement. These criminal prosecutions against peaceful academics and citizens have immense chilling effects on the international and local academia, students and the youth, in addition to inflicting permanent damage to Hong Kong’s reputation as a free and open society.

It is our professional and moral responsibilities to defend and sustain an open and democratic society, the pursuit of justice, human rights, freedom of assembly and speech, all of which are fundamental to scholarly research, teaching and exchange. Therefore, we strongly oppose the Hong Kong SAR Government’s decision to charge these scholars and activists for their non-violent fight to realize Hong Kong people’s right to universal suffrage, a basic human right enshrined in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a constitutional promise stipulated in the Basic Law of Hong Kong.

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