Chinese Communist Party (CCP) survivors gathered in Canberra on 27-28 February at the opening conference of “CCP Victims,” calling for the rapid adoption of Australian Magnitsky style legislation to prevent human rights abusers from enjoying the scourge of their crimes.
Representatives from Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong, Uyghur Muslims, Catholic and Christian communities as well as Hong Kong and Chinese democracy groups discussed the need for Magnitsky legislation.
It also urged the Australian government to remain firm in the face of pressure from Beijing.
Lhakpo Tshoko, the representative of the Australian and New Zealand central Tibetan administration (CTA), urged the Australian government to introduce legislation comparable to the United States Global Magnitsky Act and encourage other governments to impose similar sanctions.
“It is high time for the international community to join forces to seek justice and truth to clearly and vigorously register their protests against China’s outright atrocities against the Tibetans and other oppressed people under the CCP regime,” Tshoko said.
The legislation in the Magnitsky style refers to the enforcement of targeted sanctions on human rights abusers and corruption.
The Magnitsky Act was first developed in the USA to punish Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.
Currently, this law authorises the US government to sanction those it considers human rights offenders by freezing its assets and by prohibiting them from entering the United States, thereby reducing the profit of human rights abusers, corrupt officials and their beneficiaries.
The Chairman of a parliamentary human rights subcommittee, Liberal MEP Kevin Andrews, stated in December 2020 that Australian government investigations into the development and implementation of Magnitsky-style sanctions had found legislation that would align Australia with the world.
In addition, the federal government would be able to create a leading world version of the Magnitsky legislation.
“These recommendations would strengthen Australia’s commitment to protecting the human rights of people worldwide. Australia would implement a world leading version of Magnitsky legislation in the report’s recommendations,” Andrews said.
“We can’t control whether or not perpetrators are brought before the courts in their country, but targeted sanctions legislation will make Australian beaches, schools, medical and financial institutions unlimited for people that have taken advantage of unreasonable conduct,” he said.
The Parliamentary Report currently recommends targeted sanctions such as the ban on entry into Australia of individuals and their beneficiaries who have been identified as human rights abusers and the ability to seize assets.
Senator David Fawcett, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade, said that these legislation would make Australia a leader in the fight against human rights and corruption.
“To co-operate with like-minded nations in this field, the human rights of countless citizens worldwide can be protected,” Fawcett said. “Australia is an attractive investment and lifestyle destination and we have an opportunity to reduce incentives for corrupt and unscrupulous abusers of human rights.”
This concept was supported by Uyghur Muslim and Hong Kong delegates to the conference “Victims of the Chinese Communist regime,” arguing that the Magnitsky-style legislation would enable Australia’s CCP influence to become more resistant and to raise awareness of Uyghur Moslems’ persecution and oppression in Hong Kong.
The Australia Representative Hong Kong Link, a group of Hong Kong Australians in support of freedom in Hong Kong, notes that Magnitsky legislation could play a crucial role in preventing the CCP from benefiting financially from Hong Kong’s trade wealth and business relations with Australia.
“We are aware that some immediate family members of certain pro-CCP government officials are currently living in Australia,” the group representative said. “We would like to see sanctions applied on these officials and their immediate families, so that they can benefit from Australia, when the Magnitsky Act comes into force.”