Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists charged with subversion

Rodiano Bonacci
Marzo 3, 2021

Hong Kong is a part of China, and its affairs are China's internal affairs that allow no interference from foreign countries, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily news conference.

Jonathan Williams, a diplomat at the United Kingdom consulate in the city, said: "It's clear that the use of the national security law is going much broader than the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities promised".

"It will be an natural disaster shaking up local political interests", said one person briefed on the impending changes.

The electoral changes are expected to be discussed and possibly passed at the annual meeting of China's National People's Congress, which starts Friday.

Critics say it has silenced dissent and stripped Hong Kong of its autonomy.

They are some of the territory's best-known democracy campaigners.

"The Biden-Harris administration will stand with the people of Hong Kong and against Beijing's crackdown on democracy", Blinken added.

Veteran democrats have been quick to condemn the plan.

Beijing is battling to stamp out dissent in semi-autonomous Hong Kong after swathes of the population hit the streets in 2019 in huge and sometimes violent democracy demonstrations. "The whole concept of Xia Baolong is that the Communist Party rules Hong Kong and only those that support the party can have any role".

He was also charged and accused by Chinese authorities of being a key tactician for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony. "As long as this breath lasts, I'll fight until the end".

What is in the National Security Law?

"The central government is really anxious about the elections", said Dongshu Liu, a City University of Hong Kong assistant professor of Chinese politics, adding that the plan to force Lam's resignation alarmed Beijing.

"The EU urges Hong Kong and Beijing authorities to abide by their commitments to fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, as enshrined in the Basic Law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights".

The trend comes as the Government's new visa pathway for Hong Kong residents opened in January, following China's tightening of national security laws.

The global community spoke out in defense of the 47 activists, who are facing charges of conspiracy to commit subversion under the China-imposed National Security Law (NSL).

That event was created to identify the strongest pro-democracy candidates to field in legislative council elections planned for last September, when the opposition camp hoped to win an historic majority.

James Dempsey, Sales Director at BuyAssociation, said they have seen a "big upturn" in property investors from Hong Kong in the United Kingdom market.

The latest charges sparked a fresh round of worldwide criticism of Beijing and the city's authorities.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken led worldwide criticism of the latest charges, calling for the group's immediate release, as western powers accused Beijing of shredding the freedoms and autonomy it promised Hong Kong could maintain ahead of the territory's handover from the British.

The two pro-Beijing politicians spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, due to the sensitivity of the matter. Activists said the pro-Beijing majority feared losing seats. "It's a new abnormal".

Former Legislative Council President Rita Fan told officials at the Shenzhen meeting that district councilors should be barred from the 1,200-person committee that selects the chief executive, according to the Standard newspaper.

It was supposed to guarantee certain freedoms for the territory - including freedom of assembly and speech, an independent judiciary and some democratic rights - which mainland China does not have.

"We are Hong Kong people", he told Reuters.

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