Civil Human Rights Front

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Civil Human Rights Front
民間人權陣線
Civil Human Rights Front logo.png
CHRF logo
AbbreviationCHRF
Formation13 September 2002 (2002-09-13)
Dissolved15 August 2021
TypeNGO
Key people
Figo Chan Ho-wun (convener)[1]
Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit
Icarus Wong Ho-yin [zh]
Johnson Yeung
Andrew Shum Wai-nam
Websitewww.civilhrfront.org (Cantonese only)
Civil Human Rights Front
Traditional Chinese民間人權陣線
Simplified Chinese民间人权阵线
Civil Human Rights Front members protesting in Tsim Sha Tsui on the day of 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay.

The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) was an organisation that focused on the issues of Hong Kong politics and livelihood, affiliated with almost all pan-democratic camps in Hong Kong. It was founded on 13 September 2002[2] and disbanded on 15 August 2021.[3]

Forty-eight NGOs and political groups were involved in the organisation in January 2006. The most well-known event held by the CHRF was the Hong Kong 1 July marches.[4]

Organisational development[edit]

Civil Human Rights Front was founded on 13 September 2002, with the aim to provide a platform consolidating voices and powers from various groups and spectrum of the societies in order to advance the development in the human and civil rights movements.[2]

The initial aim was to focus on the enactment of the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law.[5] After the protest in 2003, the organisation started to diversify its mandate, to include issues such as equal opportunities and authorities given to the police.[6]

Since 2017 they have been lobbying the Hong Kong government through the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process as one of the main Hong Kong UPR Coalition Steering Committee members alongside Justice Centre Hong Kong, PEN Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Watch.

Arrest of Figo Chan[edit]

In April 2020, then-vice-convener, also known as co-convener of the organisation, Figo Chan, was arrested as part of a crackdown on pro-democracy activists.[7] In May 2020, he appeared before the West Kowloon magistrates' court and was granted bail. There, he said that "demonstrating is not a crime".[8]

2021 coalition exodus, national security law and allegations of foreign funding[edit]

After the charging of 47 pro-democracy activists and politicians under the national security law (including the indictment of former convener Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit), the organisation was questioned by pro-Beijing media as to whether it had a right to exist under the current security laws.[9] In March 2021, the Democratic Party and the teachers' union withdrew from the Front. Convener Figo Chan confirmed this but did not explain further. Also in the same month, a Singaporean newspaper quoted officials from the Hong Kong government saying that the Front was funded by the US agency National Endowment for Democracy, which is illegal under the national security law as "colluding with foreign forces"; both, former convener Sham and current convener Chan denied the allegations.[10] On the threat of disbandment, Chan said that "[F]or this reason, we will not and cannot disband, and I, as its convenor, am absolutely willing to live and die with the Front as long as there are still member groups that remain."[9]

2021 arrest of Jimmy Sham and conviction of Figo Chan[edit]

On 6 January 2021, Jimmy Sham was arrested along dozens others amidst a crackdown on pro-democracy figures and participants of the pro-democracy primaries. Sham was rearrested on 28 February 2021 on subversion charges and awaits trial as of late May 2021.[11] Also in late May 2021, the group's convener Figo Chan was convicted over a unlawful assembly in 2019 and handed a 18 months' imprisonment term, leading the group temporarily leaderless.[12]

Member organisations[edit]

The following civic organisations and political parties are members of CHRF.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "民陣換屆 陳皓桓接替岑子杰任召集人:續為民主而戰". HK01. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b Kuah, Khun Eng; Guiheux, Gilles (2009). Social Movements in China and Hong Kong: The Expansion of Protest Space. Amsterdam University Press. p. 56. ISBN 9789089641311. Archived from the original on 19 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Civil Human Rights Front confirms it has disbanded as members steer clear". South China Morning Post. 15 August 2021. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  4. ^ Chan, Ming K.; Lo, Shiu-hing (2010). The A to Z of the Hong Kong SAR and the Macao SAR. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 97. ISBN 9780810876330.
  5. ^ Lo, Shiu Hing (2008). The Dynamics of Beijing-Hong Kong Relations: A Model for Taiwan?. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 160–161. ISBN 9789622099081.
  6. ^ Civil Human Rights Front Civil Human Rights Front Police Powers Monitoring Group’s Submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, 11 March 2013
  7. ^ Wong, Rachel (18 April 2020). "15 Hong Kong pro-democracy figures arrested in latest police round up". Hong Kong Free Press. Archived from the original on 22 April 2020. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  8. ^ Zaharia, Marius; Fernandez, Clarence (18 May 2020). "Hong Kong's veteran pro-democracy activists defiant as they hear charges in court". Reuters. Archived from the original on 18 May 2020. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  9. ^ a b Cheng, Selina (19 March 2021). "Premier Hong Kong protest coalition comes under fire from pro-Beijing and state media, leader vows to continue". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  10. ^ "The Civil Human Rights Front denies foreign funding". The Standard. 5 March 2021. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Hong Kong charges 47 activists in largest use yet of new security law". BBC. 1 March 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  12. ^ "Hong Kong activist Figo Chan says jail will make him 'a better man'". France24. 29 May 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  13. ^ "CHRF member list". 民間人權陣線 (in Cantonese). Archived from the original on 11 November 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  14. ^ "SCMHK – Student Christian Movement of Hong Kong". Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  15. ^ "民主黨". www.dphk.org. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  16. ^ "歡迎來到勞動民主網". 10 January 2016. Archived from the original on 10 January 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  17. ^ "Asia Monitor Resource Centre". Asia Monitor Resource Centre. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  18. ^ "社會民主連線 League of Social Democrats – 沒有抗爭 那有改變!" (in Chinese). Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  19. ^ "首頁 :: 香港天主教正義和平委員會". www.hkjp.org. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  20. ^ "香港天主教勞工事務委員會". www.hkccla.org.hk. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  21. ^ "香港基督徒學會" (in Chinese). Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  22. ^ "香港婦女基督徒協會". 香港婦女基督徒協會. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  23. ^ "香港教育專業人員協會 | Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union". www.hkptu.org. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  24. ^ "Sham Shui Po Community Association - 深水埗社區協會(公益金會員機構) | | 一條心,為街坊,爭權益,永不忘" (in Chinese). Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  25. ^ "About Us - Zi Teng". www.ziteng.org.hk. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  26. ^ "街坊工友服務處 – 街坊工友服務處" (in Chinese). Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  27. ^ "新婦女協進會". 新婦女協進會. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  28. ^ "超級議員". neodemocrats.hk. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  29. ^ "工黨 Labour Party". 工黨 Labour Party (in Chinese). Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  30. ^ "香港婦女勞工協會 – 中大女工小賣店". Retrieved 16 February 2021.