Hong Kong police put spotlight on UK lobbying firm for pro-democracy work following arrests

A UK lobbyist’s work on behalf of campaign organisation ‘Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong’ (SWHK) calling for sanctions has led to a raft of arrests, following the imposition of draconian security laws in the former British colony at the end of June.

Hong Kong police briefed local media outlets about the involvement of a UK lobbying firm in pro-democracy demonstrations (pic credit: Getty)
Hong Kong police briefed local media outlets about the involvement of a UK lobbying firm in pro-democracy demonstrations (pic credit: Getty)

The Whitehouse Consultancy was name-checked in an article in the South China Morning Post detailing the arrest of several Hong Kong pro-democracy activists linked to the campaigning organisation.

The lobbying firm, based in Westminster, works for SWHK and provides secretariat services for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hong Kong, which recently published a hard-hitting report on police brutality and human rights abuses by Hong Kong’s police force.

SWHK called for sanctions against Hong Kong and mainland China officials after the new security laws were imposed on 30 June. An ongoing crowdfunding campaign – illegal under the new legislation – has raised around £1.3m, from which the Whitehouse Consultancy was paid, according to the South China Morning Post.

The anonymous founders of SWHK have said they will use the money raised from crowdfunding to continue lobbying for sanctions against Hong Kong authorities over the coming two years.

Hong Kong police arrested local media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and five others last week under the national security law, on suspicion of “collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security”.

The Whitehouse Consultancy was named by police sources in a briefing to the South China Morning Post.

Commenting on the development, Chris Whitehouse, founder of the firm, said: “The Whitehouse Consultancy is proud to say it Stands with Hong Kong. We back pro-democracy campaigners 100 per cent in their fight for freedom. They are our friends, and they can continue to count upon our support, no matter what reaction that provokes from the Chinese Communist Party. The Hong Kong Police Force, once hailed as ‘Asia’s Finest’, has shamed itself through its brutal assaults upon peaceful protestors and humanitarian aid workers.”

The APPG, co-chaired by Baroness Natalie Bennett and Alistair Carmichael MP, also issued a statement in which it said it was “greatly concerned” to learn that local media in Hong Kong were being briefed by the police that the arrests were related to its recent report.



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