2 March 2023
A cross-party group of 54 UK parliamentarians and public figures has today written to the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly MP to urge him to intercede with the Hong Kong Government and call for the immediate release of the pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo on compassionate grounds.
The letter notes reports that Claudia Mo’s husband, the British journalist Philip Bowring, is currently in a hospital ICU with pneumonia. It states that: ‘Given that her husband and her children are UK citizens and Claudia previously held UK citizenship, we believe the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office has a special responsibility for her welfare and to champion her release.’
It goes on to highlight the British National Overseas (BNO) status of a large number of the 47 democrats, who are currently on trial alongside Claudia Mo under the National Security Law for their participation in primary elections, urging the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office to do more to ‘support the 47 democrats and to secure their release’. Today marks the two-year anniversary of the arrest of the 47 democrats in Hong Kong.
The signatories are led by seven of Hong Kong Watch’s patrons, including the last Governor of Hong Kong Lord Patten of Barnes, former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind KC, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Sir Geoffrey Nice KC, Fiona Bruce MP, Sarah Champion MP, and Alistair Carmichael MP. A further 47 co-signatories from the House of Commons and House of Lords include the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Alicia Kearns MP, the former leader of the Conservative Party Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady MP, and the former Cabinet Ministers David Davis MP, Lord Hain, and Lord Goldsmith KC.
The full letter can be read here.
Commenting on the publication of the letter, Benedict Rogers, Hong Kong Watch’s Chief Executive said:
“On the two-year anniversary of the arrests of the 47 democrats and their ongoing trial, we hope that the Foreign Secretary will listen to this eminent, cross-party, and bicameral group of parliamentarians and push for the release of Claudia Mo on compassionate grounds so she can visit her husband who is in the ICU.
Furthermore, the FCDO must do more to take responsibility for those political prisoners in Hong Kong with direct links to the UK, whether that is through family members, previously held citizenship, or British National Overseas status.” #