The Lantos Foundation condemns the Friday arrest of democracy activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow in Hong Kong. In 2018, Wong was the recipient of the Lantos Human Rights Prize which is awarded each year to individuals who have provided exceptional leadership on behalf of human rights and democracy. Because the government of Hong Kong refused Joshua permission to travel to Washington DC to receive the Prize in December 2018, Wong’s colleagues Agnes Chow and Nathan Law came to accept it on his behalf and spoke eloquently about the threats facing the people of Hong Kong.
Over the past four months, the world has watched the incredible determination and courage of the Hong Kongers who have peacefully taken to the streets to protest China’s efforts to strangle their freedom and rule of law. Joshua and Agnes are among the key leaders of the movement to defend Hong Kong’s independent system and their arrests send a chilling message regarding China’s intentions.
Despite China’s intimidation efforts, these brave young leaders have made their intentions clear. Speaking following his release on bail Joshua said, “We shall never surrender. I urge the international community to send a clear message to President Xi: sending troops or using an emergency ordinance is not the way out. We will continue our fight no matter how they arrest or prosecute us.”
The people of Hong Kong have made three simple and reasonable demands:
1. They have asked that the pernicious Extradition Law be withdrawn.
2. They have called for an end to police brutality.
3. They have demanded that they be allowed to freely elect their own leaders as promised in the past.
The Lantos Foundation calls on the United States government to express, in clear and unmistakable terms, its support for the millions of Hong Kongers who have peacefully demanded their fundamental human rights as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also call on the US Government to warn the Chinese government that any violent crackdown against this grass roots democratic movement will have grave consequences for future US/China relations.