World China strips licence from second lawyer for ‘Hong Kong 12’
A pro-democracy activist on Hong Kong’s year of turmoil: “The city itself is dying”
Joey Siu, an activist featured in a new documentary, talks about the protests and China’s national security crackdown.Starting in June 2019, the city convulsed with protests over a controversial extradition bill. That expanded into a pro-democracy movement that sought to push back against China’s efforts to further erode the city-state’s already tenuous autonomy, and the freedoms that went with it.
A second Chinese lawyer who represented a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist has been stripped of his licence to practice, in a move that drew alarm from rights groups and condemnation from the United States.
Ren Quanniu, who represented one of 12 Hong Kong activists who allegedly tried to flee by boat to Taiwan, said on Tuesday that he had had his licence revoked by the Henan Provincial Justice Department.
Can Hong Kong residents now live in the UK?
The government has granted millions of people in Hong Kong new opportunities to live and work in the UK.It will also provide them with a route to British citizenship.
Lu Siwei, who worked alongside Ren on the case, had his licence taken away last month.
Ren and Lu said that representing the members of the so-called “Hong Kong 12” was the trigger that stripped them of the right to practise.
The 12 activists attempted to flee Hong Kong after China imposed a sweeping national security law on the territory. They were caught at sea in August and after being held for months without access to family 10 of them were sentenced by a Shenzhen court in December to prison terms ranging from seven months to three years for crossing the border illegally and organising the escape. Two others, who were under the age of 18, were returned to the custody of the Hong Kong police.
Thousands of Hong Kong residents have fled the territory since Beijing imposed the security legislation last June to quell dissent in the semi-autonomous city. More than 90 people have been arrested for national security-related offences so far, according to Hong Kong Commissioner of Police Chris Tang and eight people have been charged, including the media tycoon Jimmy Lai, a prominent campaigner for democracy.
Special UK visa for Hong Kong residents from Sunday
The PM says it honoured the UK's "profound ties of history and friendship" with the ex-British colony.Hong Kong's British National (Overseas) passport holders and their immediate dependants will be able to apply for the visa using a smartphone app.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US was “deeply concerned” about the move to disbar the two lawyers.
“We urge Beijing to respect human rights and the rule of law and to reinstate their legal credentials at once,” Price wrote on Twitter.
The Henan Judicial Department held a hearing on the licence revocation on Friday in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital, according to other lawyers who turned up to support Ren. They were not allowed into the hearing.
Ren was told that comments he made in court in a case in 2018 defending Falun Gong practitioners had caused a “negative impact on society,” according to a notice from the Henan Justice Department that he showed to the media.
He told the AFP news agency the accusations against him were “groundless”.
“If my licence could be revoked in such circumstances, I think China’s legal system is dead,” he said. “Lawyers should be clearly aware that referencing the law and facts in court may be dangerous in the future.”
China will ‘no longer recognise’ UK passport for Hong Kong people
Beijing’s announcement comes as Britain prepares to open its doors to millions of people from its former colony.“From January 31, China will no longer recognise the so-called BNO passport as a travel document and ID document, and reserves the right to take further actions,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.
Ren has years of experience in handling politically charged human rights cases in China.
He has defended people affiliated with the Falun Gong, a spiritual movement which China has labelled a cult which has come under attack since its followers protested in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1999.
Most recently, he represented citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, who was sentenced to four years in prison last December for attempting to report on the situation in the city of Wuhan during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic early last year.
Chinese Human Rights Defenders, an NGO coalition, expressed concern over Ren and Lu’s disbarment.
“Persecuted activists and critics of the government are unlikely to find any lawyers to defend their legal rights these days,” it said.
“Human rights lawyers (in China) face renewed zeal by authorities to debar them.”
Frontline Defenders, a human rights group based in Ireland, called the action against Ren “unacceptable” and said it was “further evidence that the “Chinese government’s commitment to rule of law is not genuine”.
More than a dozen Chinese rights lawyers have had their licences cancelled or revoked in recent years in what activists have said is an effective silencing by authorities.
Tears, guilt and hope for Hong Kongers seeking new life in Britain .
As the clock counts down to her finally leaving Hong Kong, Judy is riddled with self-doubt and guilt over the gut-wrenching decision to move her family to the other side of the world for a new life in Britain. Back in Hong Kong, he said, his family used to take regular holidays to Japan and Thailand. His current salary is around 30-40 percent of what he used to earn.But he says he has no regrets."I also told my friends to leave if they can," he said. "Hong Kong is no longer the place we loved.