With scores of pro-democracy figures accused of attempting to overthrow the government, Hong Kong’s greatest national security trial began on Monday; critics claim that this case exemplifies the criminalization of dissent in the Chinese territory.
The Punch reported that the 47 accused, who include well-known activists, a legal expert, and former MPs, might receive a life sentence if found guilty.
To charges of “conspiracy to commit subversion” stemming from their participation in an unofficial primary election held in advance of legislative elections, sixteen of them have entered a not guilty plea.
Before the court started, there was a rare, modest demonstration, with participants carrying signs that read, “Crackdown is shameless” and “Immediately release all political detainees.”
An additional demonstrator was seen raising a fist in support as numerous police officers watched from close.
Authorities claimed that the group’s stated goal of gaining a majority and forcing the resignation of the city’s mayor amounted to an attempt to overthrow the government.
According to the defendants, they are being victimized for typical opposition politics.
They are currently subject to hearings that will run longer than four months and be presided over by judges chosen by the government.
Theirs is the most significant case to date under the comprehensive national security statute that China enforced on Hong Kong in response to rallies for democracy in 2019.
Beijing says that the law was required to put a stop to the disturbance, which resulted in police brawls and tear gas being used on the streets of the Asian financial center.
The law, which was used against students, unions, and journalists, has made the formerly vocal city more like to the authoritarian mainland.
The law, which was used against students, unions, and journalists, has made the formerly vocal city more like to the dictatorial mainland.