Status: 01/4/2021 09:04 am
Hong Kong continues its hard-line stance against the democracy movement: Several activists have been convicted of participating in the protests, including well-known names such as media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai.
A Hong Kong court found seven prominent Democratic activists guilty of violating the assembly law. The defendants were accused of participating in an unauthorized demonstration on August 18, 2019.
Among those convicted were several well-known democracy advocates such as 82-year-old attorney Martin Lee and media mogul Jimmy Lai. They pleaded not guilty. The maximum punishment is now threatening life imprisonment. It was not clear when the verdict would be announced.
Beijing is moving ahead strongly
The basis of the indictment was the new and controversial “National Security Law” that China passed despite fierce international protests. According to the Beijing government, the aim is to combat secession, sabotage, terrorism and foreign interference.
The court ruling is the latest blow to Hong Kong’s democracy movement, which Beijing is cracking down on. In the past few months – especially since the introduction of the Security Law in the summer – several well-known activists have been sentenced to long prison terms for relatively minor crimes. Many of them have recently fled to other countries, fearing prosecution.
Many Western governments accuse China of undermining civil rights in Hong Kong and a desire to silence the democratic movement.