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Chairperson: Paul Harris   Deputy Chairpersons: John Clancey & Vivian To   Secretary: Jackie Tang   Treasurer: Lai Wing Yiu
Founder members: Andrew Byrnes  Johannes Chan  Philip Dykes  Paul Harris  Ho Hei Wah  John Kamm  Christine Loh  Charles Mok  Stephen Ng  Phillip Ross
Director: Law Yuk Kai  Education & Project Officer I: Kit Cha  Education & Project Officer II: Lake Lui  Project & Administration Officer: Baig Raees Begum  Executive Officer: Poon King Yin   


Press statement 

British should not facilitate erosion of free speech

(25 October 2004: Hong Kong) When free speech was seriously at risk in May, the British Consulate-General Mr. Stephen Bradley tried to play down the threat to free speech in Hong Kong. The director of Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, Mr. Law Yuk-kai, therefore found it difficult to attend a luncheon round table discussion with the British Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell today during his visit to Hong Kong.

Two radio hosts were forced to go off the air in May this year. Mr. Bradley should have spoken out in defence of free speech in Hong Kong at that important moment. Instead, he chose to say that there was no sign of free speech in Hong Kong being undermined.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” said Law. “If he could not have offered help he should have at least kept his mouth shut.”

While the British Government has expressed concern about free speech in its 6th monthly report to the British Parliament, Mr. Bradley has also firmly declined repeated requests to talk about that report on Radio Television Hong Kong.

If Mr Bradley really believes his remarks to be true he is unacceptably ill-informed about events in Hong Kong. However it appears that what he says is not based on ignorance, but is a deliberate and calculated attempt at appeasement of the Chinese Government.

Britain has a moral responsibility to the people of Hong Kong to try to safeguard the rights guaranteed to them by the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The rights of free speech are being eroded.  It is unacceptable that Britain’s representative in Hong Kong should connive in the process and facilitate the erosion of free speech by his public remarks.

The British Government should never allow such remarks to be repeated.