Press release

Hong Kong: Police Should Exercise Restraint, Disclose Whereabouts of Those Arrested

The deescalation of the standoff between protesters and police at Hong Kong Polytechnic University is critical. 


In response to an ongoing standoff between protesters and police at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“It is critically important that this situation be deescalated immediately, and that a peaceful resolution to the standoff at Hong Kong Polytechnic University be negotiated,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “We are deeply troubled by footage showing excessive force and brutality by Hong Kong police against protesters, many of whom are reported to be juveniles. Protesters should not initiate violence, but police actions over the last 48 hours are only escalating tensions.”

“We are also alarmed by footage purporting to show arrested protesters being transported by train to an unknown location. Some observers have raised fears that that these individuals may be transferred to mainland China. Such action would be a blatant violation of the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement, place protesters at severe risk of torture, and further fuel the anger of the Hong Kong public.”

“We call on the Hong Kong government to immediately disclose the names and locations of detainees, and the charges against them. We also urge the government to drop all charges against and release those in detention for peacefully protesting, especially those still detained for violation of the mask ban, which Hong Kong’s High Court ruled unconstitutional. The United States should call for the release of those wrongly detained, urge restraint from both the Hong Kong and mainland governments, support an independent international investigation into police abuses, and immediately pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.”

Hong Kong is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2019. Freedom House has also released a policy brief with recommendations for how policymakers can address the democratic crisis in Hong Kong.

China is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2019, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2019.