Former Legislator Opens Law Firm in New York, Calls on Hong Kong Expats to Continue Hong Kong Spirit

By Julia Ye
Julia Ye
Julia Ye
Julia Ye is an Australian-based reporter who joined The Epoch Times in 2021. She mainly covers China-related issues and has been a reporter since 2003.
May 12, 2022 Updated: May 12, 2022

Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, a former member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council who left Hong Kong in early 2021, recently posted on social media that he had started a law firm in New York. He encouraged expatriate Hong Kongers to continue the spirit of Hong Kong people.

According to some scholars, it’s estimated that after the Anti-extradition Movement in 2019, about 150,000 people leave Hong Kong each year and move to other countries. Predictions indicate that more will leave in the future. Scholars have launched alliances to help those who left Hong Kong.

In the early morning of May 3, Kwok posted on Facebook that he, like many Hong Kong people around the world now, had to find new directions and goals for himself. He said he’s very grateful to have found good partners to open a law firm with in New York and continue his legal work. He will continue to work as a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School.

At the end of the post, he sent a message to Hong Kong people, “I hope everyone can continue the spirit of Hong Kong People no matter where they go,” and cheered  “Hong Kong people, add oil.” Some netizens left messages to express their support and blessing for Kwok and said  they hope he will be able to speak up for Hong Kong again.

According to the link attached to his post, Kwok’s new law firm is called Elliott Kwok Levine & Jaroslaw LLP, located on Fifth Avenue, one of New York’s prime locations. The firm’s website says Kwok is one of four partners.

In 2012, Kwok was elected as a member of a Legal functional constituency in the Hong Kong Legislative Council and was the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee of the Legislative Council until ousted in 2020.

During the Anti-extradition Movement in 2019, Kwok presided over the election of the chairman. He was successively criticized for “political speculation” by the Liaison Office of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the CCP State Council, because for allowing too much time for the Pro-democratic lawmakers to raise questions during elections, which prevented the House Committee from electing a chairman within six months. Kwok responded that the criticism was “unreasonable attacks and political abuse.” He said the two Offices have no right to interfere with the operation of the Legislative Council.

In November 2020, the Standing Committee of the CCP officially announced that four Hong Kong Legislative Council members, including Kwok, were no longer qualified to be members of the legislature. The incident triggered all Pro-democratic Legislative Council members to announce their resignation. Kwok also announced his departure from political life. It was reported that he and his family left Hong Kong for Canada in April 2021.

The main reason Kwok was disqualified was the letter he sent to the United States seeking sanctions on Hong Kong. Regarding being stripped of his membership by the CCP, Kwok said, “There is only glory, no regrets.” He added: “Life is like a chess game, you have no regrets when you make a move. Just figure it out and do what you want to do.”

In an interview with The Epoch Times, American current affairs commentator Gida said, from Kwok’s experience we can see tht Hong Kong people are not discouraged by the suppression, but after a period of thinking and adjustment, have become more enterprising, we can see the hope of Hong Kong people.

Overseas Scholars Do Their Best

Cheung Kim-wah, the former Deputy Chief Executive of Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (HKPORI), who left Hong Kong for the UK on April 24, said in an interview with The Epoch Times that although he had finished his work at HKPORI by April, he will support and assist the work of HKPORI as the nominal director for the “We Hong Kong People Project” and help Hong Kong people.

He mentioned that HKPORI had earlier planned to set up an overseas platform named “overseas Hong Kong people’s opinion group,” hoping that Hong Kong people living outside China could participate in research on Hong Kong issues to further help Hong Kong.

Cheung bluntly stated that Hong Kong is not the Hong Kong of the CCP, nor of any control groups. Hong Kong belongs to the people of Hong Kong. He said, “Wherever Hong Kong people go, they will identify themselves as Hong Kong people, and many will say, ‘we are not immigrants, but [have] emigrated overseas.’ Therefore, Hong Kong people will continue to express their opinions as stake holders.” Cheung said he will be involved in setting up this platform.

Since the Anti-extradition Movement in 2019, many young students have been forced to leave their hometowns, and people are quite concerned about their situations when they leave the country. Some expat scholars from Hong Kong established an active platform on the internet “the Hong Kong Collaborative Academic (HKCAN).” By using its personal network and experience, it aims to provide Hong Kong students living in the diaspora with information on study and employment in the United States and Canada, and has regular webinars on a variety of subjects.

The founder of this platform, Dr. Yvonne Leung, who is currently woking at Northeastern University in Toronto, told Radio Free Asia that she was deeply saddened to see Hong Kong students being suppressed by the regime after the Anti-extradition Movement. She hoped to help them find a way out, and eventually formed the alliance.

Simon Shen, a Hong Kong international relations scholar, once wrote on Radio Free Asia that he estimated the minimum number of overseas Hong Kong people to be one million before the Anti-extradition Movement in 2019, and the upper limit could be two million. After 2019, thousands of Hong Kong people leave Hong Kong every year and move to countries around the world. Conservatively speaking, in 10 years, the number of expat Hong Kongers  will be at least one million more than now.

American current affairs commentator Gida told The Epoch Times that Hong Kong people have created miracles in terms of wealth and built the splendor of the Pearl of the Orient. As an international metropolis, Hong Kong should belong to the world. It is the Hong Kong of the world. People want to preserve Hong Kong’s unique culture and freedom, but they have been severely suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party’s totalitarian regime.

It’s notable that Hong Kong people who have migrated overseas can continue to speak up for Hong Kong.

Epoch Times reporter Sarah Liang contributed to this report.

Julia Ye
Julia Ye is an Australian-based reporter who joined The Epoch Times in 2021. She mainly covers China-related issues and has been a reporter since 2003.