General comment No. 37
Article 21: right of peaceful assembly
July 27, 2020
“The fundamental human right of peaceful assembly enables individuals to express themselves collectively and to participate in shaping their societies. . . . Together with other related rights, it also constitutes the very foundation of a system of participatory governance based on democracy, human rights, the rule of law and pluralism.”
Also see press release
“. . . Most recently, the National People’s Congress took a decision to draft a national security law for the Hong Kong SAR – without any meaningful consultation with the people of Hong Kong – which would, if adopted, violate China’s international legal obligations and impose severe restrictions on civil and political rights in the autonomous region. . . . The draft law would deprive the people of Hong Kong, who constitute a minority with their own distinctive history, cultural and linguistic and even legal traditions, the autonomy and fundamental rights guaranteed them under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration and the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ governance framework.”
Speakers on this panel organized by the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, U. of Michigan, discuss the legal and political crises in Hong Kong stemming from the recent Decision by China's Central People's Government to draft and impose a national security law on Hong Kong.
Jun 8 (Mon) 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT / Jun 9 (Tues) 9 am HKT
Prominent rights advocate Xu Zhiyong was taken away by police in Guangzhou on Saturday, February 15, 2020. He was a founder of Gongmeng, Open Constitution Initiative, a legal research an aid organization that was shut down by the authorities in 2009, and a leading advocate of the New Citizens’ Movement, which advocated for the protection of rights of citizens through nonviolent means. He served four years in prison but has continued to speak out since his release in 2017. He was one of the participants in a private gathering in Xiamen in early December 2019, where lawyers and other right advocates shared ideas about promoting the growth of a civil society in China. In late December, the authorities detained, summoned, or disappeared more than 20 attendees (some were subsequently released), and Xu went into hiding. On February 4, 2020, Xu published “Admonition to Resign,” an essay urging President Xi Jinping to step down, in which he cites Xi’s incompetence in governing and attempts at covering the truth of the coronavirus outbreak. The quote above, “Always wanting to go against the course of history—that is your biggest problem,” is taken from this essay.
“The question before us in the Council today comes down to this: are we going to take the honorable stand to defend the human rights and dignified way of life that millions of Hong Kong citizens have enjoyed and deserved . . . or are we going to allow the government in Beijing to undermine their international legal commitments and force their will on the people of Hong Kong . . . ?” Statement; Remarks as delivered