Exclusive with former Hong Kong legislator Ted Hui

Ted Hui, former Democratic Party legislator, wanted by the Hong Kong police for allegedly breaching the National Security Law, landed in Darwin on Monday the 8th of March after being offered a spot on the Australian repatriation flight from London to Darwin. 

Two days later (10th of March), Hong Kong Free Press reported that the HKSARG Security Bureau released the following statement, which was also sent to Rabelais:

“Anyone who violates the law should be responsible for his or her own behaviour. The Government strongly condemns any attempt seeking to evade legal liabilities. Persons who are wanted for prosecution of offences and have absconded from Hong Kong are fugitive offenders. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will hold all fugitive offenders criminally responsible and make them face the sanctions of the law. In light of the circumstances of each case, the Police will track down the whereabouts of the fugitive offenders through various means in accordance with the law and pursue them. We strongly object to jurisdictions harbouring criminal fugitives.”

Ted Hui provided a comment to Rabelais and stated: 

“I think what so called governance by patriots is essentially just labelling opposition to be unpatriotic.  This way they can effectively eliminate all opposition and dissent.  There will only be one political view in government.  This is nature of governance by patriots.  There won’t be any opposition in Hong Kong anymore, inside or outside parliament.  Opposition will be heavily oppressed and suppressed with no fundamental freedoms.  Hong Kong is being pushed back to pre-80s levels of oppression, where politicians were appointed instead of elected.

I think the Hong Kong regime is not targeting the form of the primary elections we organised, but rather the political opinions we expressed during the primaries.  It shows how ridiculous the national security law operates.  I can see how the regime is trying to imprison all the prominent activists and former legislators, from the most moderate to the most radical.  Beijing and the Hong Kong regime will not tolerate any dissent, no matter how moderate.  Hong Kong has become an authoritarian state, where the interests of the CCP take precedence over international obligations such as the joint Sino-British Declaration.

That’s a difficult question to answer, because I don’t think as one of those Hong Kongers in exile, I’m in a position to advise Hong Kongers about whether they should stay or should leave.  There are many considerations including family when deciding to leave.  I totally respect those who choose to stay, especially my colleagues who had their passports who had the opportunity to leave.  It is a moral decision to stay and to suffer with the populace.  For those who have left, we will continue to speak up.  For me jail time is not scary, but those detained lose the opportunity to speak for Hong Kong.  It’s an individual choice that everyone should make themselves.  I don’t think I can make any concrete recommendations about staying or leaving.

International advocacy is having a lot of dialogue with parliamentarians and politicians.  It is very hard to evaluate the effectiveness of the work that we’ve done and are doing.  We don’t know how many of our recommendations that governments around the world have adopted, especially for visa and immigration schemes.  Hong Kong’s voice is being heard internationally.  Every time I speak with members of the media, I am reminded that it’s an opportunity to get our message out.  It takes a lot of division of labour, which explains my focus on Asia and Australia.

My response is that I’m not afraid at all, because I feel safe here in a free country and I can reach out to more allies and friends of the Hong Kong people.  I think it’s unrealistic and ridiculous to request any extradition.  I don’t think it’ll be successful at all.  I don’t care what the Hong Kong government regime says about us, including labelling us fugitives or offenders, because I know we haven’t done anything wrong, except for speaking the truth about our oppression.  I will continue my fight for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong.

I think it’ll be unrealistic to talk about this at this stage.  I think if military intervention is required, the current focus should be the situation in Burma.  What we’re calling for is sanctions against the CCP regime, including economic sanctions or individual sanctions.  The international community should also boycott and isolate the CCP, by relocating the Olympics or Wimbledon away from China.”

On 23 March 2021, Monash University Senior Lecturer Dr Kevin Carrico, expert on Hong Kong stated that:

“The HKSAR Security Bureau’s statement shows just how thoroughly Hong Kong’s once respected rule of law institutions have been corrupted and placed in the service of an unaccountable colonial dictatorship.

The National Security Law is not a law that clarifies what is legal and illegal, but rather a purposefully obfuscating piece of law written in such a way that anything the government dislikes could become illegal, at the government’s whim. The Hong Kong government wants to pretend that this has enhanced stability and security in the city, but really all that it has done has turn Hong Kong’s legal and political institutions into a sad joke.

There used to be a time when international cooperation with law enforcement in Hong Kong was possible and even potentially fruitful. After the National Security Law, that time is long gone. The Security Bureau’s threats against Ted Hui, who is guilty only of exercising his legally guaranteed rights under the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, are a testament to the degradation of Hong Kong’s institutions, as well as a completely unacceptable attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Australia. The Security Bureau’s statement deserves nothing but condemnation.”

On 23 March 2021, Liberal Senator James Paterson stated:

“I welcome Ted Hui to Australia, where he will be able to enjoy the rights and freedoms that he was supposed to enjoy in Hong Kong.

I also believe that his first-hand experience with the Chinese Communist Party’s destruction of Hong Kong’s institutions will make important contributions to the ongoing discussion of PRC Party-state interference that has been ongoing in Australia in recent years.

Australia has been very outspoken, rightly, about the way in which the Chinese government has not lived up to the promises that it made to respect the autonomy and freedom of Hong Kong and its people.
Australian immigration policies are a purely domestic sovereign issue. 
Any visitor to Australia, whether they’re a citizen or not, enjoys all the rights and freedoms that Australians enjoy.”

On 20 March 2021, Jane Poon, representative of Australia Hong Kong Link, an Australian-based Hong Kong advocacy group stated:

“We are very encouraged by Ted’s arrival to Australia, which provides an opportunity for him to engage with the Hong Kong community in Australia and wider Australian public.  As an international icon and former Hong Kong lawmaker, Ted will be able to factually represent the views of Hong Kong people to the Australian polity.  From day one of the pro-democracy movement to his last day in Hong Kong, Ted personally experienced the violence and police brutality against activists.   During the police assault of Polytechnic University, Ted was on the front lines with students and was the last legislator to stay and negotiate with police forces.  We are confident that Ted can convey the need for urgent and immediate action by Australia and other friendly nations in response to the gross human rights violations perpetrated by the CCP and Hong Kong government on the people of Hong Kong.”

On 22 March 2021, James Stevens, Communications and Policy for Tim Wilson, Liberal Member for Goldstein was contacted and did not comment.

On 23 March 2021, Lam Tsz-wai from the Office of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People’s Republic of China stated: 

“The Security Bureau has responded to you enquiry and we have nothing to add please, thank you.”

On 31 March 2021, Labor Senator Penny Wong was contacted and did not comment.

Image: “064” by etanliam is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 and “P1150502” by Studio Incendo is licensed under CC BY 2.0