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Demands rise for the liberation of transgender activist detained in Hong Kong — Radio Free Asia

There is a growing call for authorities in Hong Kong to release Lai Ke, a transgender activist from China who is facing repatriation after being jailed while transiting the city on her way to Canada. Lai, also known as Xiran, was detained at Hong Kong International Airport in May 2023 and later sentenced to 15 months in jail for allegedly forging her travel documents in a secret trial without legal representation. She served her sentence at the Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre and was released early on March 2. However, instead of being released, she was transferred to the Castle Peak Bay Immigration Detention Centre, raising concerns that she may be sent back to China.

Amnesty International has warned that if Lai is forcibly repatriated, she will be at risk of persecution. The organization is urging Hong Kong authorities to clarify Lai Ke’s immigration status and allow her to travel to a safe destination. Lai’s supporters have reported mistreatment while in detention, including being deprived of her hormone medication and forced to cut her hair short. The group has accused the Hong Kong authorities of complicity in the persecution of trans individuals by the Chinese government.

Amnesty International has emphasized the urgency of preventing Lai from being unlawfully deported to China and warns of the serious human rights violations she may face if returned. The organization has documented systematic discrimination against transgender individuals in China and the crackdown on LGBTQ+ activism under the current government. LGBTQ+ activism is nearly non-existent in China due to the government’s strict censorship and crackdowns on public displays of support for the community.

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