A Statement of Solidarity with Hongkongers

Photo from aljezeera.com, Taken by: Anthony Kwan, Getty Images

On January 6, 2021, Hong Kong police, acting for the Chinese government, arrested at least 53 pro-democracy Hongkongers for the alleged crime of “subversion.” These arrests were pursuant to “national security” legislation which was imposed by fiat on Hong Kong by the Chinese government. Those arrested were accused of organizing to participate in legislative elections and included politicians, academics, researchers, labor organizers, advocates of social justice for marginalized communities.

Kashmiris have struggled for democratic and human rights for over seven decades. We too have been denied our right to organize and enjoy meaningful representative governance. We too have suffered mass illegal imprisonment and silencing under “national security” laws imposed by fiat. We understand the frustration, fear and pain of our brothers and sisters in Hong Kong.

In standard narratives, China and India are rivals operating different political systems. As the reality of the quasi-democratic system in Hong Kong demonstrates, “democracy” can be easily co-opted by authoritarianism. This “democratic authoritarianism” is the reality of India, especially in Kashmir, as it is in Hong Kong.

The international community and, in particular, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, have failed our peoples and aided and abetted our oppressors while continuing to claim respect for the rule of law and human rights. The EU’s recent trade deal with China in the face of Chinese violations, including in Hong Kong, is a case in point. We have long been victims of the impunity bred by similar justifications despite India’s violations against Kashmiris.

Furthermore, the Chinese government continues to commit atrocity crimes against Uyghurs, Tibetans and other peoples deemed threats to the Chinese state. The Indian government continues to commit atrocity crimes against Kashmiris. All of these peoples are subject to brutal settler colonial campaigns, a major violation of international law. Impunity breeds violations. We pray that Hongkongers are spared further violations. But praying is not enough.

We demand that the international community stand for its own principles and end China’s impunity in Hong Kong. We empathize deeply with Hongkongers who are trying to save their homeland and their culture as we face an all-out assault on ours. Hongkongers, like Kashmiris, are canaries in a coal mine of international indifference and failure. That failure must stop immediately.

Americans for Kashmir

Canadians for Peace and Justice in Kashmir

Kashmir Gulposh

Kashmir Law and Justice Project

Kashmir Reading Room

Stand With Kashmir

SWK is a Kashmiri diaspora-led international solidarity movement that seeks to end the Indian occupation and support the right to self-determination.