Hong Kong trial begins, Washington cries for “tyranny”

China uses the end of the year holiday to start the least publicized tests – Family Cheung / AP / Sipa

The arrest of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists was tested in August as they tried to flee Hong Kong by speedboat, beginning in China Monday, with the United States asking for immediate release and condemning a “tyranny”.

Six months after the adoption of a stricter law on national security in Hong Kong, the hearing marks the former British colony’s acquisition of Beijing, which has become a semi-autonomous Chinese territory. The verdict will be announced later, a Chinese court said, on Monday, ten of the 12 members of the group accused it of crossing the illegal border.

Washington tape do poeing

A spokesman for the United States Embassy in Beijing said, “Their only crime is to flee the atrocities.” “Communist China does nothing to prevent its citizens from gaining independence elsewhere.” On August 23, 12 men, the youngest of whom were arrested by the Chinese Coast Guard, 70 kilometers from the Autonomous Region, before being handed over to the police in Shenzhen (South), a Chinese metropolis. Hong Kong Gate. They were trying to move to mainland China’s rival island of Taiwan.

“The court heard the judgment of the prosecution, the remarks of various defendants and the arguments of the lawyers. The verdict will be announced at a later date, ”the Yantian district court in Shenzhen said on Monday. The statement said those involved in the trial included journalists and “relatives” of the defense.

A very small tribunal

However, foreign journalists were barred from reaching the court. And the support committee for the accused denied the presence of families to the press in Hong Kong this Monday, who could not attend the hearing. Many relatives complained that they could not have actual contact with the defense lawyers engaged by the Chinese authorities. The support committee said in a statement, “This unfair legal process is evidence that this is political oppression.”

A dozen diplomats from several countries (Germany, Canada, United States, France, Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom) were also barred from entering the court. According to their families, three of the defendants are of British, Portuguese and Vietnamese nationality.

China backed down

A spokesman for Chinese diplomacy on Monday expressed his “strong opposition” to the words of the United States embassy, ​​urging Washington to “stop all interference” in its internal affairs. “The law should be respected and criminals prosecuted,” he emphasized.

Ten defendants were prosecuted on Monday. At the time of the facts, the other two, minors must be tried separately on an unspecified date. Two of the 12 defendants are accused of organizing the entire group’s escape. He faces a heavy prison sentence of up to seven years. Opponents had disappeared into China’s opaque judicial system since his arrest.

London concern

British Foreign Minister Dominic Rabb said in a statement on Monday that London, a former colonial power in Hong Kong, was “deeply concerned” that Hong Kong activists had “been tried in secret”. “We expect China to uphold the rule of law and conduct tests in a fair and transparent manner. “

Some passengers of the speedboat were already threatened with legal action in Hong Kong for the huge, often violent, pro-democracy protests that rocked the city last year. The protests were halted in early 2020 by the Kovid-19 epidemic, which led to the end of the protests, then a new stringent law on “national security” was enacted in late June.

Beijing considers it necessary to restore stability in Hong Kong. Its culprits believe that it has put an end to the region’s independence, guaranteed when it was returned to China by the United Kingdom in 1997. Only the families were asked permission from the judge to join the trial. But due to the epidemic, Hong Kong residents are currently unable to enter mainland China. Also on Monday, “civilian journalist” Zhang Zhan, was arrested after covering at the beginning of the year the quarantine of the city of Wuhan (center), the cradle of the new coronovirus, sentenced to four years in Shanghai (East) Was heard from jail.

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