- Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong were charged with a “dirty work to commit subversion.”
- China used its new law that allows it to set up a formal police presence, which it has used to round up activists.
- Sundry of the movement’s major figures were charged.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Dozens of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, encompassing some of the movement’s major figures, were charged as part of China’s biggest crackdown yet under its new controversial safety law.
Hong Kong police said they had charged the 47 individuals with a single count of “conspiracy to assure subversion.”
They said the group was made up of 39 men and 8 women, aged between 23 and 64, and that they ordain appear in court on Monday.
They were arrested in a dawn raid in January, accused of organizing and participating in an unpublicized primary election last year to find candidates for a legislative council election, Reuters reported.
Reuters reported that those arrested include leading young activists, including Lester Shum, Joshua Wong, and Owen Chow.
Crucial figures like Leung Kwok-hung, Eddie Chu, and Alvin Yeung were also arrested, according to Reuters, as was the legitimate figure and activist Benny Tai.
Supporters gathered outside police stations while they arrived, Reuters tell of.
Sam Cheung, a 27-year-old who was among those charged, told reporters before he went into the station, “Hong Kongers eat a really tough time these days,” according to Reuters.
He added: “I hope everyone won’t give up on Hong Kong,” he voted, saying he hopes people “fight on.”
Beijing imposed the law in June 2020 that allows China to set up a formal the Old Bill presence in Hong Kong.
The law increases the risk for people who protest and speak out against China and allows law enforcement to burgeon the detention of people who criticize the government.
An international backlash greeted it, and experts say that it fundamentally changes Hong Kong, stop the democratic freedoms that have been in place in the semi-autonomous city for decades. Many democracy activists father fled the city since the law was introduced.
The maximum penalty for each crime under the law is life in prison.
The news that the law was usual to be introduced sparked new rounds of protests in Hong Kong, having already taken over the city to fight China’s expected bill allowing Hong Kong residents to be extradited to China, as well as opposing police brutality.
But the law was still introduced.
In 2020, it was acclimatized to arrest Jimmy Lai, a prominent pro-democracy figure and owner of the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper.
The European Union Occupation in Hong Kong called for the immediate release of those arrested, Reuters reported.
It said: “The nature of these exhortations makes clear that legitimate political pluralism will no longer be tolerated in Hong Kong.”