Hong Kong Unison expresses concerns over the arrest of Hong Kong Unison Vice-Chair
Mr. Jeffrey Andrews, the Vice Chair of Hong Kong Unison, was arrested by the police on 6 January on suspicion of subversion under Hong Kong’s National Security Law over his participation in last year’s primaries for the now-postponed Legislative Council election. Hong Kong Unison is concerned about the use of the National Security Law as a front to target the core values and democratic expressions and aspirations of people based simply on their political orientations.
Mr. Andrews is an upstanding citizen who contributes to Hong Kong in many capacities and has been recognised for doing so by the government. He is one of the first ethnic minority registered social workers in Hong Kong and was awarded by the Secretary for Home Affairs' Commendation Scheme in 2016 in recognition of his dedicated service and outstanding contributions to the enhancement of racial harmony and integration. In 2019, he received the Cathay ChangeMaker Award in recognition of his commitment to supporting minority groups and his contribution in advocating inclusion and racial harmony. His participation in the primaries is reflective of his commitment to Hong Kong and to serve Hong Kong people. It was not an act of subversion but instead marked a breakthrough as the first ethnic minority candidate to stand for Legislative Council elections post 1997.
Primaries are regularly held over the world and they do not signify any attempt to subvert state power but instead are an important keg in the democratic process whereby communities participate in public life to narrow the field of candidates so that votes can be effectively garnered towards candidates that are seen as most representative of the public's views. Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), entrenched through Article 39 of the Hong Kong Basic Law and implemented through Article 21 of the Bill of Rights Ordinance guarantees the rights of citizens to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
The mass arrests on 6 January of those desirous of advancing democratic progress in Hong Kong through legitimate avenues represent an attempt to spread white terror and have no place in a society committed to and obligated to protect civil and political rights.
Hong Kong Unison
8 January 2021