This is an opinion article by political group We Are Hong Kongers
Who are we?
We are a group of students studying in New Zealand who care a lot about Hong Kong. With the introduction of the controversial proposed Extradition Bill (the Bill), this puts Hong Kong people and anyone who is found in Hong Kong to be at risk. Therefore, we gathered together to show solidarity with the Anti-Extradition Bill movement in Hong Kong and to raise public awareness in New Zealand.
What is the Extradition Law Amendment Bill?
The legislation of the Bill, specifically the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance proposed by the Hong Kong government, shall allow:
Hong Kong residents or visitors to be sent over to the Chinese government for allegations lodged by the Beijing Authorities
Extradition can be applied on possible suspects of as far as they can provide “prima facie” evidence to Hong Kong courts
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong holds final decision over the suspect transfer, foreigners in Hong Kong will also be applicable to the bill!
Why should we care?
Everyone can be at risk if they say or do anything that China deems to be a crime. As you are travelling /working /studying /transferring in Hong Kong, you can be arrested and handed over to China if you have committed crimes against China.
The legislation puts New Zealand citizens at risk. The New Zealand Court of Appeal holds grave concerns regarding the physical safety of individuals extradited to China, “New Zealand has obligations under international law to refuse to return a person to a jurisdiction in which they will be at substantial risk of torture, or where they will not receive a fair trial,” Judge Helen Winkelmann said.
What is happening in Hong Kong?
Since June 2019, people in Hong Kong have used various peaceful means to carry out protests and to convey to the Hong Kong government. However, the Hong Kong government has turned a blind eye to the people’s voice and the police have used excessive violence, including firing rubber bullets and tear gas, to stop protesters from protesting. According to the Amnesty International report on 21st June 2019, it stated that the use of force by police in the largely peaceful protest was unnecessary and excessive. People took to the streets after the police used excessive violence against peaceful protestors whom the government denounced as ‘rioters”. Violating international law, the police attacked journalists, shot protestors in the face with rubber bullets, and tear-gassed permit-approved protest areas.
What have we done already?
Since mid-June, we have been trying different ways to gain the attention of the New Zealand Government in response to the developments in Hong Kong. Also, we have contacted different MPs trying to seek their views on the Bill.
We have also been in touch with Amnesty International New Zealand to look for ways to raise awareness in New Zealand regarding the police brutality.
Several rallies were held in Auckland with the aim to raise local awareness.
We have been given the permission by the University to put up a Lennon Wall within the University of Auckland’s campus
What can you do?
Keep an eye on this issue and help us to spread the news to your friends
Share your feelings and comments on the Lennon Wall which is located in the room next to PB Tech, between Kate Edger and the Quad.
Monitor the responses made by the New Zealand government and speak up if you think the response does not match with the values of New Zealand.
Sign the petition to show your support for “Protect our basic human rights and safety of Hong Kong students”
If you have any relevant information, please let us know by visiting our Facebook page: We are Hong Konger (https://www.facebook.com/wearehker)