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Halifax International Security Forum Calls on China to Drop Charges Against Democracy Activist
May 17, 2020


Washington, DC – “Politically motivated charges against Figo Chan and other pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong should be dropped immediately,” said Peter Van Praagh, President of the Halifax International Security Forum today.

Chan and human rights campaigner Emily Lau accepted the 2019 John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service at the Halifax International Security Forum last November from Mrs. Cindy McCain, wife of the late Senator and Forum board member.

Van Praagh’s call comes as Chan and 14 other activists are due to go to trial on charges related to demonstrations that took place in August and October last year.

“Just last month, China was appointed to the influential Consultative Group of the United Nations Human Rights Council,” Van Praagh said. “Figo Chan’s trial mocks that appointment.” 

China analysts say Beijing is attempting to profit from the world’s attention on the Coronavirus to pursue an ever more oppressive stance on Hong Kong, which last year saw sustained pro-democracy demonstrations by millions of people.

 “China caused alarm at the beginning of the first wave of the pandemic by arresting doctors and censoring scientists,” said Van Praagh.  “It is again defaulting to authoritarian measures that must be challenged.”  

“The courage of Figo Chan and pro-democracy activists is an inspiration to the whole world,” said Van Praagh. 

Halifax International Security Forum is a non-partisan, non-profit, non-governmental organization that runs North America’s leading foreign affairs and defense conference. Its mission is to strengthen strategic cooperation among the world’s democracies. The conference will take place this year on November 20-22. 

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