Erasing Hong Kong's Democrats

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Hong Kong authorities moved this weekend to imprison nearly the entire opposition movement. The message is that anyone who runs as a pro-democracy candidate will be treated as a criminal.

On Sunday Hong Kong formally charged 47 former lawmakers and dissenters with conspiring to subvert state power. At issue is their role as organizers and participants in a pro-democracy primary election last summer.

Hong Kong’s Basic Law states that “the ultimate aim is the election of all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage.” But Beijing’s lackey, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, warned that any attempt to gain enough seats to undermine Beijing’s legislative agenda could constitute a crime under the new national security law. The opposition held its informal primary anyway last July, and some 600,000 Hong Kongers cast votes.

Beijing is now using the primary as an excuse to take down pro-democracy leaders, young and old. Those charged this weekend range in age from 23 to 64. They include Jimmy Sham, who helped draw millions to the streets in 2019 to protest legislation allowing extradition to the mainland; former lawmakers including Claudia Mo and Alvin Yeung; political strategist and scholar Benny Tai; union organizer Carol Ng; and several young district councillors.

Only judges approved by Beijing can hear national security cases, and under the new law the maximum sentence is life in prison. Yet in Hong Kong the punishment may now begin before a guilty verdict is even rendered.

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Source:" WSJ "

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