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Help us defend democracy and freedom in Hong Kong

Posted on July 21st, 2020 by in Articles & News.

illustration of hong kong and protonvpn

 

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These are dark days for Hong Kong. On July 6, in the middle of the night, Hong Kong’s governing body effectively destroyed the idea of an autonomous, democratic Hong Kong by imposing a series of measures designed to eliminate privacy, sharpen censorship, and curb freedom of speech.

The cause of freedom has no borders, and in order to succeed we must stand together. Hong Kong’s fight is also the world’s fight, and we all have a responsibility to stand with Hong Kong. Today we’re announcing a new initiative to defend democracy, privacy, and freedom of speech in Hong Kong. 

We will be donating 50% of our revenue from July and August 2020 from Hong Kong to support two local civil rights organizations: 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund and Stand With Hong Kong.

Over the course of this campaign, we hope to raise over HK$1,000,000 (about US$130,000) to help defend freedom in Hong Kong. As of July 20, 2020, the campaign has so far raised HK$171,000.

Why Hong Kong needs our support

Since 1997, Hong Kong has been a Special Administrative Region (SAR) within China, governed by the Hong Kong Basic Law which protects a number of fundamental rights. However, despite this internationally recognized legal protection, Chinese authorities have repeatedly attempted to chip away at Hong Kong’s freedom. These attempts have triggered massive protests from Hong Kong citizens concerned about protecting their freedoms. 

In an attempt to crush the protest movement, China passed a National Security Law on June 30, which outlaws “subversion,” a vaguely defined concept, which clears the way for China to impose the same iron-fist tactics it deploys on the mainland: Orwellian censorship, warrantless searches, secret trials against political prisoners, coerced confessions, and even torture. The decree, and its July 6 implementation rules, have radically changed the situation on the ground in Hong Kong. In effect, the Great Firewall of China can now be extended to Hong Kong, and protesters can now be arbitrarily detained and subject to criminal prosecution. 

We also noticed these impacts at Proton. Both ProtonMail and ProtonVPN have long been used by Hong Kong citizens to keep their communications and online activity secure from government surveillance. After July 6, ProtonVPN could also become essential in order to access the Internet without censorship. Since the introduction of the National Security Law, interest in ProtonVPN in Hong Kong has increased by 3,000%, reaching the third position in the Hong Kong app store.

At Proton, we believe in freedom and democracy for all citizens of the world, and we have long been supporting the activist community in Hong Kong, including organizations such as HKmaps. Protecting freedom is a long and difficult struggle, and in order to succeed, the peoples of the world must stand together, and today we stand with Hong Kong. We hope that through our financial support, the cause for freedom in Hong Kong can continue to burn brightly. 

Hong Kong civil rights organizations we’re supporting

We have selected two organizations in Hong Kong, and we will distribute funds equally to each of them. We decided on these organizations based on a selection process that involved nominations from activists in Hong Kong that we work with. Our goal was to select organizations where we believe our donation will make a meaningful impact on democracy and rule of law for Hong Kongers.

612 Humanitarian Relief Fund

Established after the anti-extradition protests in 2019, the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund provides financial, medical, and psychological support to people arrested during pro-democracy demonstrations. The fund’s trustees include Joseph Zen (Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong), Margaret Ng (a barrister who was also a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong for 17 years), Cyd Ho (an activist for LGBT rights), and Denise Ho Wan See (a singer who is widely respected for her participation in social movements). The fund operates in a highly transparent manner and is non-political, representing all citizens of Hong Kong.

Stand With Hong Kong

Stand With Hong Kong is an advocacy organization that works to raise international support for the Hong Kong democracy movement. Their awareness campaigns take many forms, including organizing demonstrations in Hong Kong and around the world, generating publicity through op-eds and advertising, and lobbying international governments to put pressure on Beijing. 

How you can support freedom in Hong Kong

There are two main ways to contribute to our initiative.

1. If you’re in Hong Kong, just use ProtonVPN

We will be donating 50% of all revenue from Hong Kong in both July and August. By getting a paid ProtonVPN subscription, you will automatically be supporting freedom in Hong Kong, while also getting a VPN service which protects against government surveillance and allows you to access censored websites. 

Get ProtonVPN

If you already have a ProtonVPN account, any payments you make during this period will be included in the donation. This includes upgrades to the various paid versions of ProtonVPN. To upgrade, log in to your account.

Log in

2. If you’re not in Hong Kong, make a donation on our website

For those not in Hong Kong or who do not wish to use ProtonVPN, you can still make a difference.

In July and August, we will add 100% of contributions from our donations page toward our Hong Kong initiative. 

Donate

About Proton’s mission

We believe everyone should have access to a free and private Internet. Unfortunately, this is not the default around the world. From the United States and Europe to authoritarian states like China, governments are constantly working to undermine online privacy and security. Meanwhile, big tech monopolies enable state surveillance and censorship while enriching themselves.

Proton builds tools to protect online freedom and return control to the people. Since being founded by scientists who met at CERN in 2014, ProtonMail has helped over 20 million people easily secure their email communications with end-to-end encryption

Then in 2017, after recognizing the need for more trustworthy privacy and anti-censorship tools, we launched ProtonVPN, which protects Internet activity from surveillance and helps unblock censored content. Like ProtonMail, ProtonVPN is fully open source and available to all citizens worldwide.

We created ProtonVPN and ProtonMail to defend fundamental rights: democracy, privacy, and freedom of speech. The citizens of Hong Kong deserve the same freedom to exercise these rights as anyone else in the world. 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. You have long supported us, and now it is our turn to return the favor. Together, we can build a better future.

Andy is a founder of Proton Technologies, the organization behind ProtonVPN and ProtonMail. He is a long time advocate of privacy rights and has spoken at TED, SXSW, and the Asian Investigative Journalism Conference about online privacy issues. Previously, Andy was a research scientist at CERN and has a PhD in Particle Physics from Harvard University. You can watch his TED talk online to learn more about our mission.

Post Comment

22 comments

  1. Apple Tsoi

    Stand with HK

  2. Archimedes Layton

    Props to Proton Technologies for supporting Hong Kong in its most desperate time of need. Access to the internet free from state censorship should be a global statutory right and it’s incredibly harrowing to see that we’re still having to fight so fervently for such basic entitlements in 2020.

  3. YL

    Support Hong Kong national security law. Fight against rioters, US and UK interfere of China and Hong Kong internal affairs. Will never use, and will tell all my friends not to use ProtonVPN. Will also encourage others to use other VPN as ProtonVPN will steal information for US FBI and CIA.

  4. Benedict

    Such typical ideology nonsense. Do you know what those protesters did? They have damaged normal life of HongKong’s people, and HongKong’s international image. They did not understand what is good for the ppl. They are simply misled by western ideology nonsense. There are many kinds of democracy in the world, and if you look at the whole world, the so called one-person-one-vote democracy has largely failed or is failing right now. You are not supporting good, rather you just support an so-called-democracy that is so naive and incompetent. I feel ashamed that as a tech company you turn such a blind eye to facts.

  5. Ben Wolford

    Our consistent position is that there should be online freedom, privacy, and free speech. The organizations we have selected to support have been specifically screened to be non-political, and taking a position for greater freedom should not be considered taking a political position.

  6. Raymond

    Respectful act, Thank you for support and stand with Hong Kong especially in this difficult time.

  7. Black cat

    Thank you so much for all the things securing and protecting the rights of HK! It really moves me and may god bless you all!

  8. Roy Xavier

    Thanks for supporting Hongkongers

  9. Keyboard

    So if someone not in Hong Kong gets the vpn, 50% of their payments won’t go to help the cause, only donations will?

  10. Ben Wolford

    Thanks for the question. If someone in Hong Kong gets a paid ProtonVPN account, 50% of their payment during July and August 2020 will go to help these organizations. For donations made to https://protonmail.com/donate, 100% of those contributions will go to the cause.

  11. KC

    Thank you ProtonVPN and ProtonMail for standing up and defending the fading freedom in Hong Kong! Not many companies would like to stand up for Hong Kong as they worry about losing their RMB customers! Honestly, it is not just the problem in Hong Kong but CCP is a problem for the entire world. Look at the Covid-19 pandemic! Huge number of Covid-19 deaths recorded in Italy as well! The China government has never ever thought about taking the responsibility! Besides, the CCP propaganda previously claimed Italy where the virus comes from. I am very disappointed when China treated his “alliance “ in this way. Europe does deserve a better alliance, other than China. I feel completely betrayed.

    Wake up, the world! Stop letting a gangster to stab your back without paying any cost!

  12. Meryl Botkin

    I want to stand with the people of Hong Kong to defend their civil rights.

  13. Tim Ng

    Thank you for standing with Hong Kong!

  14. Abby Law

    I have been portonvpn plus user for a year since July 2019. I found that the servers speeds are quite slow in the past few months. I love the service and love the security policy, but the speed is not that competitive with the other popular VPN.

    Anyway, thanks for support and stand for Hong Kong.

  15. Ben Wolford

    Hi Abby, thanks for your support and I’m sorry you’ve been having speed issues. Please reach out to our support team, and they may be able to help you out: https://protonvpn.com/support-form

  16. Free HK

    Thank you for standing with Hong Kong!

  17. S

    Thank you for supporting Hongkongers.
    #Fightforfreedom
    #StandwithHongKong

  18. HKer

    Thank you for standing with Hong Kong!

  19. Kelvin

    I am already the user of your VPN product. thank you so much for standing with Hong Kong and the free world.

  20. Tiffany

    Thank you so much. Stand with HK.

  21. Ricky Fung

    Thank you so much for standing with HK! Will be switching to Proton 🙂

  22. SH

    Thank you!

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