Amnesty International Hong Kong has slammed the Hong Kong government for failing to defend the rights of its people and accused some officials of sacrificing human rights for political gain.

The NGO released a report on Wednesday, warning that the city’s rights condition is “rapidly deteriorating” in light of a series of high-profile human rights abuse cases, including the missing booksellers incident, Beijing’s intervention in the legislature’s oath controversy, “political prosecution” of pro-democracy activists, and various press freedom violations.

Photo: Amnesty International.

‘Passive attitude’

“Hongkongers are concerned about whether their personal safety is adequately protected and whether Hong Kong’s legal system is still functioning independently,” said Mabel Au Mei-po, director of Amnesty’s Hong Kong office.

Au criticised the Hong Kong government of adopting a passive attitude towards the missing booksellers case and failing to demonstrate a determination to defend the rights of its people.

She also censured the government for suggesting it may quit the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. “This made people question: Does the government want to protect our rights, or is it only focused on consolidating its power?”

A protest against the Chinese government’s alleged abduction of Hong Kong booksellers. File photo: HKFP.

The report said some officials appeared to have sacrificed the human rights of Hongkongers for their political gain. It urged public officers to make defending human rights its top priority.

Au told AFP that it was the “worst year since the handover in terms of rule of law and freedom of expression.”


Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.