Hong Kong Human Rights Lawyers Flee Due to Intimidation
December 30, 2022
Cited article by James Pomfret, Greg Torode, Anne Marie Roantree and David Lague, Reuters.
HRRC supports human rights lawyers in Hong Kong as they face state-sponsored intimidation. The use of intimidation tactics along with targeted state-media harassment raises serious concerns that pro-China media outlets are attempting to silence legal representatives and groups that are pursuing cases on issues such as freedom of speech, judicial independence, and the general rule of law.
Various methods of intimidation are being used against human rights lawyers in Hong Kong. Many lawyers and legal academics fled from Hong Kong after the passing of its security law in June 2020. One report estimates that at least 80 lawyers have fled to Britain, and dozens have relocated to Australia. Recent reports allege that threats against human rights lawyers were sent via text and email, a GPS tracking device was placed under one lawyer's car, funerary money was sent to a legal office, and state-controlled media reporters are continually harassing these individuals.
Hong Kong lawyers have played a critical role in the demonstrations against the national security laws proposed in 2003, the pro-democracy Occupy Central protests in 2014, and the rallies against the government's attempt to extradite criminal suspects to mainland China in 2019. Hong Kong lawyers also have stated that the legal organizations should support issues such as freedom of speech, judicial independence, and the rule of law.