HKG 001 / 0721 / OBS 076
Arbitrary detention /
July 2, 2021
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Hong Kong.
Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Tonyee Chow Hang Tung, a lawyer, labour rights defender, pro-democracy activist, and Vice-Chair of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, in connection with the organisation of peaceful commemorative demonstrations.
On June 4, 2021, Tonyee Chow Hang Tung was arrested on charges of "advertising or publicising unauthorised assembly" under Section 17A(1D) of the Public Order Ordinance in connection with her involvement in the organisation of the annual peaceful candlelight vigil marking the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Massacre. This vigil was banned by the police on the ground of the Covid-19 pandemic. She was detained at the Tsuen Wan police station and released on bail on June 5, 2021.
On June 30, 2021, police re-arrested Ms. Chow and her bail was revoked for allegedly encouraging others to join a banned rally for the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China that was to be celebrated on July 1, 2021. No charges were brought against her in connection with the banned July 1 event.
On July 2, 2021, Tonyee Chow Hang Tung appeared before the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts, which refused to grant her bail. Her next bail review is set for July 9, 2021, and the next court hearing is scheduled for July 30, 2021. Ms. Chow is currently detained at the New South Territories police station. She could face up to five years in prison.
The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Tonyee Chow Hang Tung, which seem to be only aimed at punishing her for the exercise of her rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression.
The Observatory calls on the authorities of Hong Kong to immediately and unconditionally release Tonyee Chow Hang Tung, and to put an end to any acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against her and all other human rights defenders in Hong Kong.
Please write to the authorities of Hong Kong asking them to:
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Tonyee Chow Hang Tung and all other human rights defenders in Hong Kong;
ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Tonyee Chow Hang Tung and all other human rights defenders arbitrarily detained in Hong Kong;
iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Tonyee Chow Hang Tung and all other human rights defenders in Hong Kong, and ensure they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance and fear for reprisals;
iv. Respect, protect, and fulfil Hong Kong’s obligations in accordance with Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, respectively.
- Ms. Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Email: email@example.com;
- Ms. Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, Secretary for Justice, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Mr. John Lee Ka-chiu, Chief Secretary for Administration, Email: email@example.com;
- Mr. Erick Tsang Kwok-wai, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Emails: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Hong Kong in your respective countries.
Paris-Geneva, July 2, 2021
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
- E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
- Tel FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18
- Tel OMCT: +41 (0) 22 809 49 39
 The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China is the group that organises the annual candlelight vigil at the city’s Victoria Park to mourn the victims of Beijing’s deadly political crackdown on democracy supporters in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
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