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An Open Letter to Detainees and Protestors in Hong Kong

2019/12/19 — 14:31

Dear Hong Kong Protesters,

In a week's time we will celebrate Christmas. It is a time of peace, joy and love, and a time when families get together.

Yet for those of you who have been arrested and are in prison or detention, this is a time of sadness, pain and perhaps in some cases separation from families. 

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So I am writing this brief open letter to offer my solidarity, my concern and my prayers for you. I too am a Hong Konger. I am a Hong Konger for two reasons. Firstly, Hong Kong was my home for five years, the first five years after the handover, from 1997-2002. Secondly, I am a Hong Konger in spirit, because I share your struggle for freedom.

You have shown extraordinary courage and dedication over the past six months. You have been fighting to defend the most precious gift any human being can have – freedom – and protect the basic rights and dignity of your people. You have been struggling for the very soul of Hong Kong, and for its future. You deserve great respect and admiration.

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I cannot condone acts of violence or vandalism. Indeed, I believe such acts are dangerous and counter-productive. However, I also believe that the world needs to try to understand why some protesters have engaged in violence. I know that it was in response to appalling police brutality – that it was the police who started the violence – and I know that it was an act of desperation and deep frustration after feeling that the government refused to listen. I understand that. I still believe, however, that the movement is at its best when it holds the moral high ground and protests peacefully. And Hong Kongers have shown, through the many peaceful protests and by voting in the district council elections, that when given the chance to express yourselves peacefully you do so.

As you endure detention, trial and imprisonment, and as you contemplate your future, please know that you have my continuing support for the cause for which you have sacrificed so much – the cause of freedom, democracy, human rights. Hong Kong is the new frontline of freedom and you are holding that frontline for the rest of us. I will continue to speak out and advocate for Hong Kong's freedoms for as long as necessary. 

This Christmas, despite the sorrow, pain and trauma you may be enduring, please know that 6,000 miles away in Britain there is someone praying for you and thinking of you. 

In solidarity,

Benedict Rogers

Co-founder and Chair of Hong Kong Watch

Wednesday 18 December 2019

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