A trial against 47 democracy activists began in Hong Kong on Monday. They are accused of wanting to overthrow the government by organizing unofficial primary elections.
47 democracy activists are on trial in Hong Kong. It is the largest trial under Beijing’s controversial National Security Law. It is expected that the procedures could take several months. The accused face life imprisonment if convicted.
Those on trial include legal scholar Benny Tai, former MPs Claudia Mo, Au Nok-hin and Leung Kwok-hung, and democracy activists Joshua Wong and Lester Shum. They are charged with “conspiracy to subvert”. They are accused of wanting to overthrow the government by organizing unofficial primary elections. Several people gathered in front of the court with placards calling for the “release of all political prisoners”.
Until a few years ago, the Chinese special administrative region of Hong Kong was considered the bastion of freedom of expression in China. Since Beijing passed a so-called security law in 2020, however, massive action has been taken against pro-democracy activists and other voices critical of Beijing. The authorities are also using a British colonial law against “riots”.