Eight Hong Kong pro-democracy activists in self-imposed exile overseas have launched a charter calling for democracy and autonomy in the city, as well as solidarity among Hongkongers overseas.

Activists Nathan Law, Sunny Cheung, Alex Chow, Glacier Kwong, Ray Wong and Brian Leung, and former lawmakers Ted Hui and Baggio Leung held an online press conference on Sunday, at which they unveiled the “2021 Hong Kong Charter” calling for solidarity among Hongkongers overseas who sympathise with the city’s pro-democracy movement.

2021 HK charter press conference
2021 Hong Kong Charter led by Nathan Law, Ted Hui, Baggio Leung, Ray Wong, Brian Leung, Sunny Cheung, Alex Chow and Glacier Kwong. Photo: press conference screenshot.

“[Our] aim is to try to build up our pathway back home, and also consolidate the effort of international advocacy work and lay out our beliefs to the international community clearly with the ‘2021 HK charter’ movement,” Law said.

The responsibility for raising international awareness of Hong Kong issues has shifted to activists overseas, he said, because those still living in the city risk prosecution for doing so.

legco storming Monday July 1
Protesters including Brian Leung stormed the LegCo on July 1, 2019. File Photo: May James.

Before leaving for the UK and Australia respectively, Law and Hui both took part in a primary election among democrats in July 2020 to select preferred candidates for an upcoming Legislative Council election. A total 47 candidates or organisers of the primary have since been charged with subversion under the national security law introduced last June. The majority have been denied bail and are being held in custody awaiting trial.

The charter lays out in three sections the group’s pledges towards Hong Kong, China and the international community.

ted hui uk
Ted Hui leaves the UK for Australia. File Photo: May James/HKFP.

It calls for Hongkongers’ “right to determine the future and affairs of Hong Kong,” separation of powers in the government, the end to criminalising of speech and the dropping of all charges against political exiles.

In its “China” section, the charter calls for an end to what it calls one-party dictatorship and digital totalitarianism in China, a halt to “cultural cleansing and genocide in Inner Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang” and a cessation of political oppression against activists and lawyers.

Its international section says the activists shall advocate internationally “free from partisan politics” and “connect democracy and freedom advocates around the world,” including those fighting for social and climate justice and racial equality.

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Selina Cheng

Selina Cheng

Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.