International Lawmakers call for Release of Hong Kong 47 on One Year Anniversary of Detention

February 28, 2022

Sixty lawmakers from Europe, the USA, India and Australia have signed a statement calling for the release of 47 Hong Kong pro-democracy politicians and activists on the one year anniversary of their charge and detention.

The statement, included below, says that the arrests “demonstrated beyond any doubt the Chinese government’s intent to use the National Security Law to wipe out all forms of political opposition in Hong Kong” and highlights concern at the lengthy detention of those charged – with only 14 of the 47 granted bail. The lawmakers call on their governments to impose sanctions on Chinese government officials and to provide a route to resettlement for those fleeing Hong Kong.  

The statement was coordinated by the cross-party Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). Prominent signatories include Senator Jeff Merkley, Chair of the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China; Reinhard Bütikofer MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s China delegation; Senator Marco Rubio, former US Presidential candidate; and world renowned human rights lawyer and UK Labour Peer Baroness (Helena) Kennedy QC.

Senator Marco Rubio, Co-Chair of IPAC, commented:

“There is no justification for the arrest of the Hong Kong 47. Their continued mass detention shows that General Secretary Xi Jinping will spare no mercy in his rush to crush democracy in Hong Kong and elsewhere. One year on, the Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong authorities continue to violate international laws in Hong Kong with impunity. Beijing must be held to account.”

Baroness (Helena) Kennedy QC, Co-Chair of IPAC, commented:

“The Hong Kong authorities are making a mockery of a once internationally respected legal system. There is no basis for the continued mass detention of these peaceful activists, nor should they be facing potential life imprisonment for legitimate political activities. As Beijing tears apart its treaty on Hong Kong, the UK and international governments must be imposing sanctions on the Chinese officials responsible.”


Today marks one year since the charging and detention of 47 pro-democracy politicians and activists in Hong Kong for taking part in primary elections ahead of the postponed Legislative Council elections.

The arrests demonstrated beyond any doubt the Chinese government’s intent to use the National Security Law to wipe out all forms of political opposition in Hong Kong. Since then, the Hong Kong authorities have forced the shutdown of all major opposition news outlets, forced trade unions and civil society groups to disband and rigged a sham election with pro-democracy candidates barred from standing.

One year on, only 14 of the 47 charged have been granted bail, with substantive legal proceedings repeatedly delayed. All of the 47 face the prospect of life imprisonment under the spurious charge of conspiracy to commit subversion under the National Security Law.

The arbitrary detention, politically motivated charges and prospect of draconian punishment for the 47 demonstrates how far the Chinese government has reneged on its obligations under international law to uphold Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy.

On this solemn anniversary, we call on our governments to:

  • Demand the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities end the arbitrary detention of the 47 and drop politically motivated charges against them;
  • Impose sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for the abuse of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong;
  • Provide dedicated routes for those fleeing persecution in Hong Kong to resettle in our countries, including for those born after the 1997 handover


George Christensen MP (Australia)

Senator Kimberley Kitching (Australia)

Senator James Paterson (Australia)

Cassy O’Connor MP (Australia)

Rep. Samuel Cogoalti MP (Belgium)

Georges Dallemagne MP (Belgium)

James Bezan MP (Canada)

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Canada)

Garnett Genuis MP (Canada)

Senator Leo Housakos (Canada)

Cathay Wagantall MP (Canada)

Senator Pavel Fischer (Czechia)

Uffe Elbaek MP (Denmark)

Reinhard Bütikofer MEP (European Parliament)

Engin Eroglu MEP (European Parliament)

Sandro Gozi MEP (European Parliament)

David Lega MEP (European Parliament)

Miriam Lexmann MEP (European Parliament)

Hilde Vautmans MEP (European Parliament)

Ms. Frédérique Dumas MP (France)

Senator André Gattolin (France)

Michael Brand MdB (Germany)

Gyde Jensen MdB (Germany)

Ajay Dutt MLA (India)

Ninong Ering MLA (India)

Amar Patnaik MP (India)

Senator Malcolm Byrne (Ireland)

Senator David Norris (Ireland)

Senator Barry Ward (Ireland)

Helena Langšádlová MP (Lithuania)

Dovilė Šakalienė MP (Lithuania)

Tom van der Lee MP (Netherlands)

Sjoerd Sjoerdsma MP (Netherlands)

Louisa Wall MP (New Zealand)

Simon O’Connor MP (New Zealand)

Kristoffer Robin Haug MP (Norway)

Guri Melby MP (Norway)

Lars Adaktusson MP (Sweden)

Joar Forssell MP (Sweden)

Lisa Mazzone MP (Switzerland)

Fabian Molina MP (Switzerland)

Nicolas Walder (Switzerland)

Lord (David) Alton (United Kingdom)

Chris Bryant MP (United Kingdom)

Alistair Carmichael MP (United Kingdom)  

Sarah Champion MP (United Kingdom)

Judith Cummins MP (United Kingdom)

Geraint Davies MP (United Kingdom)

Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP (United Kingdom)

Damian Green MP (United Kingdom)

Wera Hobhouse (United Kingdom)

Baroness (Helena) Kennedy (United Kingdom)

Tim Loughton MP (United Kingdom)

Craig Mackinlay MP (United Kingdom)  

Baroness (Catherine) Meyer (United Kingdom)

Layla Moran MP (United Kingdom)

Marie Rimmer MP (United Kingdom)

Stephen Timms MP (United Kingdom)

Senator Jeff Merkley (United States)

Senator Marco Rubio (United States)

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