Press release

Hong Kong: Freedom House Condemns Coordinated Attacks on Democracy Advocates

Hong Kong authorities arrest prominent democracy advocates as attacks on protesters continue.


In response to the arrest of prominent Hong Kong democracy advocates and lawmakers and coordinated cyber and physical attacks on protest organizers and participants, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The arrest of some of Hong Kong’s most prominent democracy advocates adds to the Hong Kong government’s shameful pattern of politically motivated detentions of individuals who are exercising rights to which they are clearly entitled under Hong Kong law,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “The recent physical assaults and cyberattacks on protesters are unconscionable.”

“Freedom House reiterates its call for the Hong Kong government to release all those currently detained for peacefully protesting and to drop all charges against them. We also urge an investigation into the hacking of protesters’ communications and personal information. We call on the Chinese Communist Party to respect and uphold the ‘one country, two systems’ model and refrain from further unwarranted interventions in Hong Kong,” Abramowitz continued. “The United States and other democratic governments should take immediate measures to deter additional escalation and prepare sanctions should repression of protesters intensify in the coming days.”


Over the past 24 hours, Hong Kong authorities arrested democracy advocates Andy Chan, Agnes Chow, and Joshua Wong, as well as pro-democracy Legislative Council member Rick Hui, on a variety of questionable charges related to their participation in protests demanding the complete withdrawal of a contentious extradition law and broader democratic reforms. Activists Max Chung and Jimmy Sham were assaulted by unidentified thugs. Attempts were made by an apparently Chinese-owned company to hack the Telegram accounts of protest participants, and the personal information of dozens of activists was posted online.

For additional details on the current protest movement and its roots in a decade-long democratic decline in Hong Kong, as well as further policy recommendations, see Freedom House’s recent policy brief on the current crisis in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2019.