If convicted of “conspiracy to subvert”, they will face the highest life imprisonment.
53 people were charged, including many famous former congressmen, activists and local councillors. They were arrested last month for organizing, planning and participating in the primary election of the democratic opposition in the city last July.
The event aimed to identify the strongest democratic candidates to participate in the legislative committee elections scheduled to be held in September last year, when the opposition camp hoped to win a historic majority.
However, these elections were eventually postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but were not postponed until multiple democratic candidates were disqualified-and warned that those who participated in the primary elections might violate security laws that were several weeks old at the time.
Thirty-nine men and eight women indicted on Sunday, between the ages of 23 and 64, will be detained and will appear in West Kowloon Magistracy on Monday. According to their initial bail agreement, they did not need to check in with the police until early April. But at the beginning of this week, the organization was asked to report to the police on Sunday.
Sunday’s allegations marked a complete escalation in the scope of application of the National Security Law, under which only a small number of people have been prosecuted and sent to court.
The law criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces, and according to the law, cases can be handled by the Hong Kong police and special departments of the National Security Court.
Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, and others have previously promised that the law will be restricted and only target a few fringe activists.
The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Donald Tsang, said that anyone who fails to take an oath-or is deemed to have taken an oath in an insincere manner-will be disqualified immediately and banned from participating in general elections within the next five years.
Earlier, Hong Kong’s only representative of China’s highest legislative body said that only “steep patriots” should be allowed to hold authoritative positions in Hong Kong.
Why should the primary election be punished?
Primary elections are a normal function of democracies around the world. When voting in Hong Kong, the US democratic primaries that Biden won were still in progress. In the past, Hong Kong pro-democracy activists have held such votes to match the organization and discipline of the rival pro-Beijing camp and avoid divided support.
However, the Hong Kong Security Minister accused those who organized the July primary elections of vetoing government bills by winning a majority of votes in the legislature in an attempt to “paralyze the Hong Kong government.”
Before the National Security Law, voting on the budget and forcing the CEO to resign was legal, similar to the “vote of no confidence” that led to elections in many democracies. The city’s constitution also contains provisions for handling such incidents, allowing the chief executive to call for new legislative elections and pass a preliminary budget to enable the government to continue to function.
When dozens of former lawmakers and opposition activists were arrested in January, the current U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said: “The full arrest of democratic demonstrators is an attack on those who bravely advocate universal rights. .”
Blinken added: “The Biden-Harris government will stand with the people of Hong Kong and oppose Beijing’s suppression of democracy.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (Dominic Raab) warned in January that “if the rights and autonomy of the people of Hong Kong are undermined, the British government will not find another way.”
In an interview with CNN in London, Raber said: “When China first implemented national security legislation, it said that it wanted to bring some stability to Hong Kong. It is obvious from these actions that it is actually suppressing politics. objection.”