Tag: pro-democracy

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists caught at sea go on trial in China under National Security Law
Asia Pacific Focus

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists caught at sea go on trial in China under National Security Law

National Security Law: Ten out of the 12 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists who were arrested at sea while they were trying to flee to Taiwan by a speedboat are now on trial in China mainland, where they were being held. 

The highly controversial draconian National Security Law imposed by China in Hong Kong in an attempt to crackdown the growing protests against mainland-China’s increasing authority in the territory has led to hundreds and thousands of pro-democracy activists captured for trial. 

The court hearing was closed to all the foreign reporters and any diplomats. Even the families of activists were barred from hearing, a notorious explanation of China’s rather opaque judicial system. 

The Court was adjourned without any verdict but the hearing is said to have included both the prosecution and defence lawyers who were given chance to speak. 

The mentioned activists were captured in August in a rare scenario of attempt to flee Hong Kong after the stringent national security law was imposed by Beijing in June. The 12 people, aged between 16 to 33, were intercepted and caught at sea on August 23rd by the Chinese coastguard. The location of capture was jut 40 miles southeast of Hong Kong. Many of the people on board were already facing charges pertaining to last year’s pro-democracy protests, while one was facing charges under the new law. This meant that by any means leaving the territory was illegal. 

Taiwan has emerged as sanctuary for Hong Kong activists fleeing the increasing crackdown on pro-democracy protestors by China. 

The arrested activists were detained without any charge for months in Shenzhen, China. Few weeks ago the authorities finally charged 10 of the 12 activists – 8 have been charged for illegally crossing the border, which can lead to a year in jail; two face more serious charges of organizing the territory border crossing which can lead up to seven prison years. 

China is infamous for putting its dissidents on trial around the Christmas period – an attempt to ward off the international attention and scrutiny. The same is evident to this trial timing. But due to the high-profile nature of this trial, international eyes were on it and attracted sharp criticism few hours before commencement of the trial. 

US embassy has urged China to immediately release the activists. Embassy’s spokesperson said, “Their so-called ‘crime’ was to flee tyranny.” In response, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called upon the US to “immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs through the Hong Kong issue.”

Washington denounces China’s new law and the expelling of opposition lawmakers
Asia Pacific Focus

Washington denounces China’s new law and the expelling of opposition lawmakers

Washington denounces China’s new law: Hong Kong has dived further into tensions after a new law was passed by Beijing under which they had disqualified few opposition members by calling them unpatriotic and claimed that they incited the whole pro-democracy protest.

Robert O’Brien, the US national security advisor, blamed China for having “outrageously abused” its global commitments and warned to impose further fresh sanctions on those answerable for quenching Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy. 

Chinese and Hong Kong authorities could confront new sanctions from the United States over their imposing of the new law that disbarred four pro-democracy lawmakers and provoked a statement of a mass resignation by the supportive of the pro-democracy council. 

Within minutes after the disqualifying legislation was declared by Chinese state media, the Hong Kong government delivered an official statement in which they prohibited four lawmakers.

The mass resignation would likewise leave Hong Kong’s governing body with just pro-Beijing legislators, who as of now make a majority, however, would have the option to pass bills in parliament supported by Beijing with the absence of much opposition.

On Wednesday, China’s highest administrative body passed a measure to banish anybody from Hong Kong’s legislative council who wish to supports autonomy, and reject to recognize Beijing’s government over Hong Kong. However, seeking help from foreign nations or forces to meddle in the internal issues of the region or to employ different acts that jeopardize country’s national security, they could face similar consequences. 

Under the new law, the legislators who are deemed to advance or support Hong Kong’s autonomy, or who won’t recognize Beijing’s government, will “quickly lose their qualification,” the new law stated. 

On Monday, the city’s 15 pro-democracy legislators declared that they would also resign stating that the “One Country Two Systems” structure that had intended to provide Hong Kong with more prominent self-rule from the region has ended. 

The administration clampdown comes after the months-long pro-democracy protest, While some Hong Kong activists including former legislators and dissent pioneers have looked for political refuge in different nations, dreading their security under the new bill. 

However, in June, Beijing had announced a new national security law that some have called draconian after the anti-legislature protests shook the city for quite a long time, and it has utilized it to take action against opposition cries. 

Accordingly, the U.S. imposed sanctions on a few authorities, including Lam. A few Western nations have halted their extradition treaty with the region, and Australia and Britain have offered Hong Kongers simpler ways to settle in those nations. 

Beijing has lashed out at these offers and called it gross foreign interference in the Chinese government. Chinese Foreign Ministry representative Wang Wenbin stated on Wednesday that disqualifications were important to keep up rule of law and the constitution in Hong Kong. 

Beijing’s most recent crackdown in Hong Kong has become a source of stress on both sides. Under US President Trump, Washington had revoked the special relationship with Hong Kong, pronouncing it would be dealt with similar to China. The US is thinking of imposing more sanctions on Chinese officials for passing an unjust law and also following the resignation of opposition legislators.

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