Exiled Hong Kong Activists Call for Japan’s Support; Finn Lau Condemns Hong Kong Govt. Over 1,800 Political Prisoners

The Japan News
Exiled Hong Kong activists, Japanese Diet members and others pose for a photo after a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday.

Exiled Hong Kong activists called for Japan’s support in fighting the repression of pro-democracy advocates and their supporters in Hong Kong and elsewhere, at a press conference held Thursday at the Tokyo office building for members of the lower house.

“We are facing transnational repression by the Chinese Communist Party,” said Finn Lau, a policy and human rights advocate living in exile in the United Kingdom after playing a significant role in the 2019 pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong government has issued an arrest warrant and placed a bounty on him of 1 million Hong Kong dollars (¥20 million).

“Today, we stand as a living testament to the struggle, as well as the outcome, of making the grave mistake of trusting the Chinese Communist Party [to respect] international agreements,” Lau said.

Following mass protests joined by millions of people in 2019, Beijing introduced a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong, once a relatively free city based on China’s “one country, two systems” policy. Lau said there are now more than 1,800 political prisoners in Hong Kong, and he urged Japan to take a tougher stance against oppression by the Chinese and Hong Kong governments.

Also in attendance were Simon Cheng, who also lives in the United Kingdom, and Ray Wong, who lives in Germany.

“The national security law has deeply taken our freedoms away in Hong Kong,” said Cheng. He also said that China is increasing its influence around the world through secret police, information manipulation and other means. He called on Japan as “the leading democracy in Asia,” to “support democracy and human rights in Asia.”

The press conference was also attended by several Diet members, including former Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, who said they will strive to have the Japanese government take a stronger stance toward the issue.

“I’m outraged at the collapse of democracy in Hong Kong,” Nakatani said. “I will continue to urge the [Japanese] government to send firm messages to Hong Kong, demanding human rights be protected.”