When Hong Kong authorities passed draconian “security” laws designed to stifle freedom and crackdown on activism, the people of Hong Kong turned to Proton VPN, downloading our app in record numbers to protect their privacy and defend against censorship.
But we quickly recognized that we could do more than provide encrypted internet connections and private email service. Activists on the ground were being arrested by the thousands, signaling the end of freedom and due process in Hong Kong.
While many tech companies responded by pulling out of Hong Kong, we believe that now more than ever, it is time to stand for freedom and the people of Hong Kong. This summer, we launched a fundraiser for civil society groups working to defend privacy, freedom, and the rule of law. As a result of our campaign, we raised HK$800,000 for the 612 Humanitarian Fund and Stand With Hong Kong. The 612 Humanitarian Fund provides much needed legal and medical assistance to activists working towards protecting freedom in Hong Kong.
From July through September, we donated 50% of our revenue from Hong Kong to give back to the cause of freedom in Hong Kong. As always, it is only through our community’s collective power that we are able to make a positive difference in the world.
Stand With Hong Kong wanted to offer this message to the Proton community now that the campaign is over:
“We are very grateful for Proton VPN organizing the campaign, and we are honored and delighted to receive the generous donation.
The right to privacy is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy. The global democratic system needs privacy infrastructures to ensure activists and political movements to have the anonymity and protection to carry on making positive changes to the world.
A secured and free internet is the modern armor for activists and freedom-loving Hongkongers. Without a good VPN, many people who are living under authoritarian regimes will struggle to connect with the world and let the world stand with them in solidarity.
In our fight for freedom, we are inspired by many like-minded individuals and enterprises, and we will continue to work together to bring democracy closer to Hong Kong.
Thank you to all those who supported and trusted the campaign, your goodwill is the driving force for us to continue our work.”
The 612 Humanitarian Fund also wanted to share its gratitude to all our users and community members that supported the campaign:
“We extend our heartfelt thanks to the public and to protestors for their trust and support, which has enabled the Fund to play a modest part in this hard time for Hong Kong.”
Why freedom in Hong Kong matters
In June, the Hong Kong authorities, at the behest of the Chinese government, rushed to implement the new National Security Law in the middle of the night, giving the people of Hong Kong only two hours’ notice. This regulation granted Hong Kong law enforcement sweeping extra-judicial powers, including the ability to intercept private communications, censor online content, and search premises and seize property, all without a warrant.
The National Security Law effectively destroyed the freedom, respect for human rights, and rule of law that Hong Kong had been known for. Former Hong Kong legislator Nathan Law, who was forced to flee Hong Kong for London since the regulation was passed, sat down with us to explain the situation the people of Hong Kong face.
Protecting freedom is a long and difficult struggle, and to succeed, the peoples of the world must stand together, which is why, today, we stand with Hong Kong. We hope that our financial support helps the cause for freedom in Hong Kong to continue burning brightly.
We will always fight for freedom
Proton is a Swiss organization, and like our host country, we remain neutral on political matters. However, we will always stand up for fundamental human rights, like freedom of speech, the right to privacy, and democracy. Proton has an office in Taiwan, so we feel great solidarity with our users in Hong Kong and a duty to help uphold our shared values.
As an organization dedicated to increasing privacy and freedom worldwide, we will always speak out against authoritarian efforts to trample on these rights and leverage the support of our community to make a change. Proton apps rely on advanced encryption to allow people to communicate more freely and escape mass surveillance. Making such tools available is a crucial part of helping preserve freedom in the digital age.
Thank you again to everyone who contributed to this campaign to support the people of Hong Kong in their time of need. Your support is helping us move towards the world we want to live in, where everyone can fully exercise their right to privacy and freedom.
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