The Free Hong Kong Center accompanied its 10 January post with two notable documents reportedly received from the partners of the organization. One document appears to be the Chinese Embassy’s appeal to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs written in Russian and dated 6 January in which China urges Ukraine to ban an exhibition organized by Free Hong Kong Center that was due to be staged on 11-17 January.The diplomatic note was one of the attachments to another document that appeared to be a memo by the Ukrainian MFA sent to the Kyiv City State Administration on 8 January, in which the Ministry asks local authorities “to consider the above-mentioned information by the Chinese diplomatic institution in Ukraine and, in case legal reasons exist, take corresponding measures…”
The German initiative Germany Stand with Hong Kong stated that the same exhibition was held in several German cities including Köln, Weimar, and Berlin.
FHKC said that the Chinese Communist Party “once again allows itself to intervene in the Ukrainian civil sector, denigrates the Free Hong Kong Center and calls on the Ukrainian authorities to take illegal and unconstitutional actions.”
The Center called in on the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Office to “take all possible actions to suppress the unconstitutional violations of foreign states on human and citizen rights and freedoms in Ukraine” and demanded public apologies from the Chinese Embassy. No reaction followed.
On the eve of the first day of the exhibition the organizers reported, “Since we feel we are doing nothing wrong, we will continue as planned and face the consequences. We refuse to be bullied and intimidated. We stand for the values of freedom of expression.”
The exhibition kicked off on 11 January as planned and lasted for a week.
Footage from the first day of the exhibition.
However, the organizers had to reformat some events, because the Hongkongers who were going to participate in the exhibition were not able to arrive in Kyiv, citing the threats of the Chinese authorities.
Talking by phone on the condition of anonymity to the Kyiv Post, the Hong Kong artist who started the exhibition said,
“The whole exhibition is already monitored by the (Chinese Communist Party) government and (we) worry we and our families and friends would be threatened by the Chinese agents.”
The Free Hong Kong Center confirmed their Hong Kong counterparts were not able to come to Ukraine due to risks and threats of the Chinese government, “because they do not feel sufficiently protected by the Ukrainian government,” FHKC reported.