A critical trial for democracy in Hong Kong GP

The trial relates to what the authorities consider an illegal gathering, and the charges are clear indications of how Hong Kong is preparing to take advantage of the harsh security laws that Beijing enacted in the region this summer.

About a million people participated in the August 2019 demonstration, despite the heavy rains and bad weather.

‘Political persecution’

Among the criminal classifications are accusations that the accused used a three-finger salute to the democratic movement and accused the authorities of political persecution.

Former Democratic activist Ou Nok Hain pleaded guilty to organizing and participating in the demonstration. Another activist pleaded guilty to participating in the protest despite knowing it was illegal.

Their judgments will be announced on March 22nd.

But the other seven defendants chose confrontation as a tactic in the trial.

“He objects to political prosecution,” democratic activist Leung Yuchung chanted in the courtroom.

Five years in prison

The defendants include attorneys Martin Lee and Margaret Ng and media mogul Jimmy Lay.

The trial is expected to last ten days. If found guilty, the accused risks five years imprisonment.

Hong Kong is an Autonomous Special Administrative Region in China. In recent years, large protests have erupted against what many residents describe as Beijing’s harsh grip on the region.

Corrector: In an earlier version, an attorney’s wrong first name was mentioned.

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