HONG KONG-The Hong Kong authorities charged dozens of pro-democracy activists on Sunday for violating China’s harsh new national security laws, the latest blow to the dwindling hopes of democracy in the former British colonies.
This is the most powerful application of the broad security law to date, and it consolidates the Communist Party’s control over a territory that has long been known for its personal freedom, independent court system, and rule of law.
Before Sunday, only a handful of people were formally accused of violating the security law, although about 100 people were arrested on suspicion of violating the security law. Those convicted of breaking the law can be sentenced to life imprisonment.
Human rights activist Lester Shum (Lester Shum) has also been prosecuted. He said the road to Sunday’s arrest began with the massive anti-government protests that turmoil the city in 2019.
He said: “We have long decided not to succumb to authoritarianism.” “I hope everyone can make this decision in the difficult days in the future.”
The allegations filed on Sunday are the latest escalation of the Chinese government to keep Hong Kong under strict control. Its austerity triggered protests in 2019, which included peaceful marches of thousands of people and quarrels between protesters and police, sometimes filling the streets of business districts in Asian financial capitals with tear gas.
To curb protests, the Chinese government promulgated the National Security Law last year, which defines it as illegal as terrorism, subversion, secession and collusion with foreign forces.
The 47 people charged on Sunday were accused of violating the law and helped organize an informal election primaries in July last year to support the democratic political camp in Hong Kong. The authorities believe that this may violate the subversion provisions of the law, which prohibits interference with, undermining or undermining the functions of the Chinese or Hong Kong government.
Participants said that the primaries are no different from those held in democracies in the world. More than 600,000 people presented their first choice for the legislature in September, generally preferring candidates closely related to the 2019 protests.
According to the strategy proposed by Dai Bingxian, the pro-democracy group can use the majority of seats in the Hong Kong Legislative Council to block the government’s budget. According to Hong Kong law, this may eventually force the Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down.
Carrie Lam’s government eventually postponed the September elections, which cited pandemic restrictions. Pro-democracy activists say that the postponement of this move is more likely to avoid defeating the pro-establishment candidates who lost terribly in the 2019 neighborhood elections.
In November, after Beijing forced four of its members to resign, all the democratic groups in the Legislative Council resigned. The Chinese government signaled this month that it plans to change Hong Kong’s electoral system to ban candidates deemed unfaithful to China’s ruling Communist Party. Although the details of these changes have not yet been finalized, they are expected to prohibit anyone but the most reconciled opposition from taking office.
Of the 47 people charged on Sunday, 55 were arrested in January and subsequently released on bail due to continued police investigations. Some people arrested last month were not charged on Sunday, including John Clancey, 79, who is an American human rights lawyer, a former priest, and has lived in Hong Kong since the 1960s.
Clancy said: “Most people are ready to sacrifice when they see someone in need.” Before bail, he stood outside the police station. “I think we must maintain the positive view that the people of Hong Kong have been able to build a better society on the basis of human rights over the years and work for democracy.”
Those accused will be arraigned in a court in the West Kowloon area on Monday, where another trial of the pro-democracy activists continues. In this case, seven senior politicians face charges of illegal assembly during the 2019 demonstrations, including publisher Li Zhimei, labor leader Li Zhuoren, barrister and former legislator Wu Garyi and Martin Lee, who are usually charged Known as the “Father of Falun Gong.” Democracy”, he helped write Hong Kong’s mini-constitution.
The accused on Sunday were ordered to report to the police in advance. Since then, many people have been saying goodbye to their loved ones and buying prison necessities, such as sneakers without shoelaces.
According to the strict requirements of the security law, the accused is unlikely to be released on bail before trial.
Owen Chow, a 24-year-old activist who ran in elementary school, was one of the people charged on Sunday. He posted a photo on the Internet with a Buddhist hymn that had just been tattooed on it. He wrote: “It seems that suffering will continue indefinitely.” “What we need is not the imagination of suffering, but the hope and determination to transcend suffering.”