Hong Kong court convicts 14 pro-democracy activists of subversion

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By Creative Media News

  • Fourteen pro-democracy activists convicted in Hong Kong
  • They face potential life sentences under China’s security law
  • Two activists acquitted; trial criticized as politically motivated

Fourteen pro-democracy activists may be sentenced to life in prison following a groundbreaking trial that critics contend could further undermine the city’s rule of law. The verdicts were rendered over three years after the defendants were indicted under a national security law that China imposed.

Fourteen out of sixteen pro-democracy activists have been convicted of conspiracy to perpetrate subversion in a groundbreaking case by a Hong Kong court.

It is the most significant national security case in the city, as a law enacted by China has virtually eliminated public dissent in the wake of the widespread anti-government protests that occurred in 2019.

Former lawmakers Leung Kwok-hung, Lam Cheuk-ting, Helena Wong, and Raymond Chan were declared guilty.

Their sentencing is anticipated for a later date, and they may now be sentenced to life in prison.

However, two former district councilors, Lee Yue-shun and Lawrence Lau, were cleared by the three justices who the government authorized to supervise the case.

In 2021, 47 democracy advocates were prosecuted for their participation in an unofficial primary election; 31 of them entered pleas of guilty.

Prior to the hearing, observers announced that their subversion case would serve as an illustration of how the security law is being employed to suppress political opposition.

However, the governments of Beijing and Hong Kong maintain that the law has contributed to the restoration of stability in the city and that judicial independence is being safeguarded.

The trial has been criticized by the United States and other countries as politically motivated, and they have called for the urgent release of the individuals who have been charged. Many of these individuals have been detained since February 28, 2021.

They are accused of a “vicious plot” to paralyze the government and compel the city’s leader to resign by issuing an unofficial pre-selection ballot in a citywide election in July 2020.

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The democratic party maintains that the selection of the most competent candidates was an informal endeavor to secure a historic majority in Hong Kong’s legislature.

In 2019, mass pro-democracy protests occurred in Hong Kong in opposition to Beijing’s security legislation, which democrats contended violated the freedoms that were granted to Hong Kong when it was returned to China by the British in 1997.

On Thursday, the court was characterized by heightened emotions as a significant number of police officers and vehicles were deployed to the scene. Diplomats from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe were in attendance.

Some supporters waited in line overnight to guarantee a place.

“I arrived because it is a historical moment and a critical stage,” stated a 35-year-old man who only provided his surname, Chiu.

He further stated that the defendants “all advocated for themselves and the people of Hong Kong in an effort to effect change.”

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