OPEN LETTER: Impacts of National Security Law on Canadian Veteran Journalist

We write today to raise concerns about the continuing impacts of the National Security Law that was unilaterally imposed upon Hong Kong by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in June 2020, and the erosion of fundamental human rights, democracy and civil liberties faced by the people of Hong Kong.
As you may have seen in recent news reports, a respected Canadian journalist and editor, Mr. Victor Ho, has been targeted by the current government of Hong Kong for his involvement in pro-democracy activities in Canada. Mr. Ho is a veteran journalist and was formerly the editor-in-chief of Sing Tao Daily from 2005-2018. He continues to work as an independent public affairs commentator and operates independent media outlet, Media Analytica.

August 12, 2022

The Honourable Mélanie Joly Minister of Foreign Affairs House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Sent Via email: mé[email protected]international.gc.ca

Dear Minister Joly,

Open Letter re: Impacts of National Security Law on Canadian Veteran Journalist

We write today to raise concerns about the continuing impacts of the National Security Law that was unilaterally imposed upon Hong Kong by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in June 2020, and the erosion of fundamental human rights, democracy and civil liberties faced by the people of Hong Kong.

As you may have seen in recent news reports, a respected Canadian journalist and editor, Mr. Victor Ho, has been targeted by the current government of Hong Kong for his involvement in pro-democracy activities in Canada. Mr. Ho is a veteran journalist and was formerly the editor-in-chief of Sing Tao Daily from 2005-2018. He continues to work as an independent public affairs commentator and operates independent media outlet, Media Analytica.

In late July, Mr. Ho joined organizers in Toronto to announce the formation of an "electoral organizing committee”, a pro-democracy action that would engage Hong Kongers in Hong Kong and around the world. As reported in the Globe and Mail, the aim is to form a “parliament-in-exile”, and “create a democratic body to represent Hong Kongers around the globe.” Following this announcement, the Hong Kong Security Bureau accused Mr. Ho of violating the National Security Law and placed him on a wanted list.

A press release issued on August 3, 2022 by the Government of Hong Kong Security Bureau says that “(o)n the basis of Article 37 of the National Security Law, Police shall spare no efforts in pursuing the cases in accordance with the law in order to bring the offenders to justice.”

We find this gravely concerning. Mr. Ho is a Canadian citizen, living in Canada. This is an intrusion on Mr. Ho’s legal rights and any application of the National Security Law is a direct attack on his fundamental freedom of thought, belief, opinion, expression, and assembly as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. His background as a respected journalist makes the threat of application of the National Security Law additionally concerning due to the threat to press freedom, which is also protected by the Charter. We are also concerned that this targeting of Mr. Ho could also have wider implications, such as if his family members or associates in, or travelling to Hong Kong are targeted for reprisal.

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We note that the UN Human Rights Committee issued a report on July 27, at the close of its one hundred and thirty-fifth session, calling on Hong Kong and the Beijing government for the repeal of the National Security Law, saying that Hong Kong should ensure that all law and practices in Hong Kong should “be in full conformity with the Covenant and the principle of “one country, two systems.”” The report raised numerous other concerns about the state of human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.

Minister, New Democrats have opposed the imposition of the draconian National Security Law since its installation. This law undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy and the democratic rights of Hong Kong’s people. Mr. Ho’s case illustrates the dangers of this law to not just Hong Kongers but internationally, and we call on your government to act in support of the UN Human Rights Committee

recommendations, condemn the National Security Law and publicly oppose the targeting of Mr. Ho under this law.

We thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter and welcome your response.

Sincerely,

Heather McPherson
MP for Edmonton Strathcona NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs

Jenny Kwan
MP for Vancouver East
NDP Critic for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship

 

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