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Trial of Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ Leaders

Trial of Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ Leaders Breaches China's UN Pledges

GENEVA, November 22, 2018 — UN Watch today called on the Hong Kong government to drop charges issued against nine demonstrators from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement on grounds that the trial breaches China's latest pledges before the
UN to respect freedom of association and assembly.

The nine protestors, who organized against undemocratic practices in the city through non-violent demonstrations in 2014, pleaded not guilty on Monday to ambiguous public nuisance charges. They now await a verdict.

Earlier this month in a UN review session, China told the world that the rule of law is “among Hong Kong’s core values” and that “Hong Kong people do enjoy freedom of association and expression.”

“Both under logic and morality, the Hong Kong government cannot pursue a political trial of peaceful student protesters while at the same time going before the United Nations and solemnly undertaking to uphold the freedoms of association and expression,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights group that has been outspoken for human rights victims and political dissidents in China.

China’s pledges will be considered when the report of the November 6th review session will go before a plenary vote of the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council in March 2019.

“If student leaders of the Umbrella Movement are persecuted, that will amount to one more compelling reason for the council to hold China to account in March. We are therefore calling on EU states to introduce a resolution that will call out China for its abuses, which we have not seen at the UN's highest human rights body since 2004."

Student leader Alex Chow, who led the Umbrella Movement's delegation to the only dialogue with the Hong Kong government before being arrested and then released, was hosted by UN Watch at its 2015 Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

“These protesters were convicted not because of their beliefs or they were exercising civil rights, but because of their disorderly, violent conduct in breach of the law,” the representative of Hong Kong told the UN during China's review this month.

“They have crossed the line separating the lawful exercise of constitutional rights from unlawful activities subject to sanctions.”

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