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Hong Kong activists face years in prison for subversion

#Hong #Kong #activists #face #years #prison #subversion

Four Hong Kong activists pleaded guilty to subversion on Friday, a violation that could see them jailed for years under the city’s Beijing-imposed national security law.

China is reshaping Hong Kong into its authoritarian image, using the sweeping security law to silence dissent.

The latest international criticism of the law came this week from the UN Human Rights Committee, which said it was too broad and applied haphazardly.

On Friday, four people, aged between 19 and 21, pleaded guilty to subversion after prosecutors accused them of inciting others to overthrow the government.

They could now be jailed for years under the security law China imposed on Hong Kong in 2020 after a wave of huge and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.

The four were accused of setting up street stalls to promote “revolution” against the Chinese government and incite separatism.

As evidence of subversion, prosecutors cited one of the defendants who urged the public not to use a Covid-19 contact tracing app and not to follow anti-epidemic guidelines.

The activists – Wong Yat-chin, Chan Chi-sum, Chu Wai-ying and Wong Yuen-lam – are now awaiting sentencing. They will return to court on September 24.

More than 200 people have been arrested so far for alleged security law violations.

Chinese and Hong Kong authorities have dismissed criticism of the law, saying it was “unfounded”.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee said on Friday the law had brought stability and peace back to the city, calling criticism from the UN legal watchdog “misguided”.

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