• February 9, 2023

47 Democracy Activists Charged Under Hong Kong ‘Subversion’ Law : NPR

Mike Lam King-nam, who took part in the 2020 democracy-friendly primary, hugs his wife before reporting to the police in Hong Kong on Sunday. Anthony Kwan / Getty Images Hide caption

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Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

Mike Lam King-nam, who took part in the 2020 democracy-friendly primary, hugs his wife before reporting to the police in Hong Kong on Sunday.

Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

The Hong Kong government on Sunday accused 47 democracy officials of violating a national security law banning “conspiracy to commit subversion”.

The activists belonged to a group of more than 50 people arrested in January for organizing and attending a pre-election last July. Last month’s mass arrests were the largest summary since the law was introduced last summer.

The Law criminalizes four types of activity: secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and collusion with foreign entities. In practice, this ends any autonomy that Hong Kong had previously enjoyed under Chinese rule.

Those arrested were among the vocal supporters of democracy in Hong Kong, including many opposition lawmakers. The group of 39 men and eight women were asked on Sunday to report to the police in order to prepare for a court visit on Monday morning. If convicted, they could face life in prison.

According to the South china morning postThe defendants included Democratic Party leader Wu Chi-wai; Party chairman Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu; and jurist Benny Tai, the architect of the July primary, who got more than 600,000 people to vote.

Activist Joshua Wong who is currently serve more than a year in prison for organizing a protest, was also charged.

International observers have raised concerns that China will go to great lengths to stamp out the opposition. In one ExplanationThe European Union Office in Hong Kong and Macau said the allegations “make it clear that legitimate political pluralism is no longer tolerated there”.

US Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wrote that China’s arrests “underscore broken promises to the world about Hong Kong’s autonomy and democratic rights. We stand in solidarity with these brave activists.” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said The allegations were “deeply troubling” and the national security law is being “used to resolve political differences rather than restore order – contrary to what the Chinese government has promised.”

In the days leading up to the charges on Sunday, the activists said goodbye to loved ones and made peace with their fate. When they entered the police station, many made statements to the media.

“Democracy is never a godsend. It has to be earned by many with a strong will.” said 33-year-old Jimmy Sham reported on the BBC. Sham from the Civil Human Rights Front helped organize major protests in 2019. “We will stay strong and fight for what we want.”

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