2 wanted Hong Kong activists and lawyer urge U.S. Congress to support autonomy legislation

Frances Hui Wing-ting (right) and Joey Siu Nam (left).

24th May 2024 – (Washington) Two fugitives from Hong Kong and a lawyer representing imprisoned media tycoon Jimmy Lai convened with U.S. lawmakers on Thursday to advocate for legislation that could potentially shut down Hong Kong’s representative offices in the U.S. and push for Lai’s release. The meeting was part of a session organised by the House Select Committee on China.

The primary focus of the discussion was the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) Certification Act. This proposed legislation demands that the U.S. administration withdraw certain privileges from Hong Kong’s offices if it deems that the city lacks sufficient autonomy from Beijing. The Act, championed by Republican Chris Smith from New Jersey, has seen progress through committee stages in both the House and Senate but is yet to face a full congressional vote.

During the meeting, Frances Hui Wing-ting and Joey Siu Nam, both of whom have had arrest warrants issued against them under Hong Kong’s national security law, alongside human rights attorney Jonathan Price, stressed the urgency of passing this bill. They articulated concerns over ongoing efforts by Hong Kong and mainland China to harass dissidents abroad.

The group also highlighted the case involving charges against three individuals in Britain for alleged espionage on behalf of the Hong Kong government, intensifying the debate around Hong Kong’s international conduct.

Moreover, the advocates discussed the Transnational Repression Policy Act, which has garnered bipartisan support and calls for sanctions against entities involved in forcibly repatriating at-risk individuals to their home countries.