Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Hong Kong

    March 04, 2020

    An independent investigation into police violence during the Hong Kong protests is essential to preventing unrest from reigniting in the city and rebuilding public trust, Amnesty International said in a new briefing released today. 

    “Missing truth, missing justice” examines the insurmountable defects of the Hong Kong police’s accountability mechanisms. The briefing sets out the need for establishing an independent commission of inquiry to investigate widespread human rights violations that occurred during the mass protests which erupted last year.

    “Each passing day that the Hong Kong government stubbornly resists establishing an independent inquiry adds to the accountability vacuum and erodes public trust further,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director.

    “Hong Kong’s existing police complaint system is not fit for purpose. No institution should be trusted to investigate itself – the police is accountable to the public.

    December 20, 2019

    Content warning: Sexual violence

    Scenes of protesters wading through clouds of tear gas or clashing with riot police have become sadly familiar in Hong Kong. But battles in the streets aren’t the only thing spreading fear among protesters.

    Allegations of the sexual harassment and assault of protesters have been circulating since Hong Kong’s current protest movement began. There have been reports of assault in police stations, footage of police exposing women’s underwear during arrest and allegations of humiliating and unnecessary strip searches.

    November 25, 2019

    University student Sonia Ng is the only protester who has accused the Hong Kong police of sexual assault using her real name. Others have spoken out on condition of anonymity, alleging that they were inappropriately groped or strip-searched during arrest or detention. Ng told a press conference that a police officer hit her breasts while she was in detention after being arrested at a protest. She later told a packed university hall, “I am not the only one,” alleging that many other protesters had been subjected to different forms of sexual violence. She then removed her face mask to reveal her identity. Amnesty International is calling for an independent investigation into the use of force by Hong Kong police.

    Here is Sonia’s story in her own words:

    Before this movement, I hated Hong Kong. I used to feel like I didn’t have much in common with people here and the lack of progress in the fight for democracy made me feel like we were weak.

    November 18, 2019

    Following the most violent confrontations of the Hong Kong protests so far during a police siege at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong Man-Kei Tam said:

    “By laying siege to Polytechnic University and firing tear gas and rubber bullets at people trying to flee, the Hong Kong Police are yet again fanning the flames of violence when they should be trying to defuse it.

    “It is the police’s responsibility to de-escalate this situation, but instead of assisting injured protesters trapped at the University they are unlawfully arresting the medics attempting to treat the wounded.

    “The increasingly violent nature of the Hong Kong protests and the resultant injuries to bystanders and others is alarming, but the heavy-handed police response to largely peaceful demonstrations over the past months is the main cause of this escalation. Their threat today that protesters could face live ammunition is a further aggressive move that heightens the risk of tragedy on the streets.

    October 18, 2019

    Responding to the Hong Kong High Court’s judgment against “MK”, a woman who had filed a lawsuit claiming that Hong Kong law breached her rights to privacy and equality by failing to recognize same-sex unions, Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said:

    “This judgment is a bitter blow to the LGBTI communities in Hong Kong, who cannot acquire the same status and recognition, and access the same rights, as opposite-sex couples due to outdated laws that refuse to recognize same-sex unions. MK’s decision to challenge this discrimination in court was an opportunity for Hong Kong to break away from the injustices of the past and start shaping a more fair and equal society.

    October 04, 2019

    The Hong Kong government announced in a press conference today that it will invoke a colonial-era law, the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, in order to ban face coverings at public gatherings. The law also grants the Hong Kong government sweeping powers relating to detention and to restriction of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.  

    Joshua Rosenzweig, Head of Amnesty International’s East Asia Regional Office, said: 

    “This is yet another attempt by the Hong Kong government to deter protesters, who have so far been undaunted by unnecessary and excessive use of force and the threat of prosecution, from exercising their rights.

    “It is thanks to the climate of fear Hong Kong authorities have created that protesters feel the need to wear masks in the first place. This ban is especially worrying in a context where protesters fear arbitrary arrest, surveillance and the indiscriminate use of tear gas and other projectiles.  

    October 01, 2019

    In response to the shooting of a protester by police in Hong Kong during demonstrations marking China’s National Day, leaving him in a critical condition in hospital, the Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong Man-Kei Tam said:

    “The shooting of a protester marks an alarming development in the Hong Kong police’s response to protests. The Hong Kong authorities must launch a prompt and effective investigation into the sequence of events that left a teenager fighting for his life in hospital. Police should only use lethal force in response to an imminent threat of death or serious injury and only as a last resort. 

    “We are urging the Hong Kong authorities to urgently review their approach in policing the protests in order to de-escalate the situation and prevent more lives being put at risk.” 

    Amnesty International analyzed videos of the shooting and pinpointed the location as Hau Tei Square in Hong Kong’s Tsuen Wan area. In a short video statement the Hong Kong Police Force defended the shooting by stating that the officer felt his life was under threat: 

    September 23, 2019

    The proposed Extradition Bill was the latest manifestation of a steady erosion of human rights in Hong Kong, Amnesty International said today, as it released a report detailing how the creeping influence of Beijing’s policies and rhetoric on “national security” has resulted in growing numbers of local activists and journalists being censored, prosecuted and harassed in recent years. 

    In the report, Beijing’s Red Line in Hong Kong, the organization highlights how increasing restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly culminated in this summer’s protests.  

    “The steady erosion of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong began long before the announcement of the Extradition Bill. The Chinese authorities, in tandem with the Hong Kong leadership, have for years been chipping away at the special status that Hong Kong is supposed to enjoy regarding the protection of human rights,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, Head of Amnesty International’s East Asia Regional Office. 

    September 20, 2019

    A new Amnesty International field investigation has documented an alarming pattern of the Hong Kong Police Force deploying reckless and indiscriminate tactics, including while arresting people at protests, as well as exclusive evidence of torture and other ill-treatment in detention.

    After interviewing nearly two dozen arrested persons and gathering corroborating evidence and testimonies from lawyers, health workers and others, the organization is demanding a prompt and independent investigation into the violations, which appear to have escalated in severity since the mass protests began in June. 

    “The Hong Kong police’s heavy-handed crowd-control response on the streets has been livestreamed for the world to see. Much less visible is the plethora of police abuses against protesters that take place out of sight,” said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    September 18, 2019

    This summer, university and high school students in Hong Kong took to the streets in huge numbers. Braving arrest, tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets, they have marched day after day to claim their rights.

    On 4 September, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced her government’s formal withdrawal of the Extradition Bill that had sparked the protests. But this was only one of the “five demands” that have propelled the movement.

    Protesters also want the government to retract its characterization of protests as “riots”; an independent investigation into use of force by police; and the unconditional release of everyone arrested in the context of protests. They also want political reform to ensure genuine universal suffrage - the ability to choose Hong Kong’s leaders themselves - as set under the city’s mini-Constitution, the Basic Law.

    Here three students tell Amnesty International why they’re not backing down now.

    Joey

    September 04, 2019

    Responding to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s announcement of an official withdrawal of the Extradition Law Amendment Bill, Man-Kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said: 

    “While the formal withdrawal of this dangerous bill, at long last, is welcome, this announcement cannot change the fact that the Hong Kong authorities have chosen to suppress protests in a grossly unlawful way that has seriously damaged the people’s trust and sense of legitimacy of the government.  

    "A thorough and independent investigation into unnecessary and excessive use of force by police at protests is now needed more than ever. We continue to call on all governments to suspend transfers of less lethal ‘crowd control’ equipment to Hong Kong until a full investigation is carried out and adequate safeguards are put in place. 

    September 03, 2019

    In response to the latest clashes between police and protesters in Hong Kong on Saturday night – which included police storming the platform of Prince Edward metro station and beating people on a train - Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said:

    “Violence directed at police on Saturday is no excuse for officers to go on the rampage elsewhere. The horrifying scenes at Prince Edward metro station, which saw terrified bystanders caught up in the melee, fell far short of international policing standards.

    “Video footage shows police stormed the train carriage and used batons to repeatedly beat people posing no threat whatsoever. Pepper spray was used in a carriage where people had no means to retreat, while medics were barred from entering the station. It is also alarming that a police officer appeared to aim a sponge grenade launcher at close range to those inside the train. Such unlawful police tactics continue to inflame rather than deescalate the situation.

    August 30, 2019

    Responding to the arrests in Hong Kong of prominent pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow on Friday morning and independence activist Andy Chan on Thursday night, Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said:

    “The ludicrous dawn swoops by police to arrest Agnes Chow and Joshua Wong are an outrageous assault on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. 

    “This past week, we have seen scare tactics straight out of Beijing’s playbook: pro-democracy protest organizers attacked by thugs, prominent activists arrested after being snatched from their homes and streets, and a major rally planned for Saturday banned.

    “The authorities must end this concerted attack on the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly. It is vital that the authorities send a clear message that people in Hong Kong can still enjoy these rights irrespective of their political beliefs.” 

    Background 

    August 23, 2019

     

    Alex Neve is the Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada

    The conflict between the people Hong Kong and their government has become increasingly alarming to watch. While no one wants to imagine an ongoing human rights crisis, there is already cause for grave concern. Amnesty International has repeatedly documented police abuses against protesters, including unlawful use of tear gas and rubber bullets. As hundreds of thousands of protesters continue to flood the streets, the world watches and wonders if various frightening and violent scenarios are forthcoming. Might Hong Kong conduct mass arrests? Might China intervene and take repressive action? Will refugees begin to flee from Hong Kong?

    If so, will Canada be ready to step up and offer safety? We very much need to prepare.

    Pages

    Subscribe to Hong Kong
    rights