OTTAWA, LONDON, TORONTO, WASHINGTON, BERLIN, BRUSSELS (September 22, 2020): The last Governor of Hong Kong, Lord Patten of Barnes, today led calls for a co-ordinated multilateral approach to the crisis in Hong Kong. He described the Chinese Communist Party regime’s recent actions as “the biggest assault on freedom and liberty in any city in the twenty-first century,” and called on democracies around the world to work together to “stand up” for freedom.

Speaking at a webinar hosted by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute – in partnership with Hong Kong Watch, the European Values Center for Security Policy and the International Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) – Lord Patten said: “What the Chinese have done is to set out to destroy all those elements which have made Hong Kong so successful.”

He called for a multilateral effort to confront the Chinese Communist Party’s “technological totalitarianism,” and for “lifelines” for young Hong Kongers who flee the city, including the provision of bursaries in universities.

Dr. Miles Yu (State Department, Washington), who also spoke at this event, noted, “On multilateralism, just about every Liberal democracies in the world recognizes that China is a threat.  We have been urging our friends and allies all over the world to build an alliance of democracies. But many of our allies did not want to engage in this effort.”

He was joined by Garnett Genuis MP, Canada’s Shadow Minister for International Development and Human Rights, who described the extraterritorial provision in Hong Kong’s national security law as “a threat to the rule of law not just in Hong Kong but in every country around the world” and a clear and present threat to the security of people all over the world” which requires “a strong, focused response.”

He echoed calls for a multilateral response. “We need to work together as like-minded countries – but multilateral collaboration is not an excuse for countries to do nothing and wait for somebody else to act first. Multilateral collaboration means that we should be willing to step out and act to do what is right – but also seek partnerships in the process.”

Hong Kong Watch’s co-founder and Chair Benedict Rogers, also at the event, advocated a “three-pronged” response to the crisis in Hong Kong, involving a “punitive” response with the imposition of targeted sanctions, a diplomatic response, with the establishment of a United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Hong Kong and a Special Envoy, and a “humanitarian” response, providing a lifeboat rescue package “to ensure that Hong Kong activists now in grave danger who do not hold British National Overseas passports have a place of sanctuary to flee to.

He concluded: “The free world must unite. We need an international contact group to coordinate efforts among like-minded countries, bringing together western democracies with allies in Asia, to ensure that there is a clear, robust, united and high-impact response. Much more needs to be done if we are to ensure that the Chinese Communist Party pays the highest possible price for its appalling behaviour and we defend the frontlines of freedom for those to whom we have a duty, and for ourselves too.”

The words were echoed in the opening remarks by conference publisher, Dean Baxendale of Optimum Publishing International.

Other speakers on the panel included exiled Hong Kong activist Nathan Law, Dr Mareike Ohlberg, co-author of the new book Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World (published by Optimum Publishing International).   

Mr. Rogers said: “This was a major webinar viewed by thousands of people around the world, which helps keep the situation in Hong Kong on the international community’s agenda. It was a privilege for Hong Kong Watch to collaborate with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and our other partners in this event, and we hope that the clear call for the free world to unite and collaborate to defend Hong Kong in the face of increasing repression will result in international action.”

The webinar is available for viewing on YouTube at:

For media inquiries, please contact:

Brett Byers
Communications and Digital Media Manager
613-482-8327 x105


(Feature image credit: Studio Incendo)

MLI would not exist without the support of its donors. Please consider making a small contribution today.