New York State Bar Association President Scott M. Karson and International Section Chair Jay Himes issued the following statement about recent action taken against pro-democracy proponents in Hong Kong:
We are deeply disturbed by the actions of Hong Kong authorities last week in invoking national security law to suppress peaceful advocacy of self-government by the people of Hong Kong.
Among those arrested was an American lawyer, John Clancey, the treasurer of a pro-democracy group, whose law firm’s offices also were searched. Mr. Clancey, a prominent human rights lawyer educated in New York, was later released on bail pending the possible lodging of formal charges. Others arrested included former lawmakers, academicians, social organizers and students. At least one pro-democracy news outlet reportedly was reportedly required to turn over documents.
Peaceful advocacy of the right to select lawmakers through free and independent exercise of the vote is a core value of any government that respects the rule of law. Government repression of such dissent, often through overly-broad application of laws and policies professing to protect national security, will invariably intensify the citizenry’s frustrations. The answer should instead be open debate in the marketplace of ideas, not officially-enforced silence. We urge officials in Hong Kong to heed these lessons of history.
About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, the Association has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.
Contact: Susan DeSantis