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Hong Kong: Landmark national security trial begins

The trial of 16 democracy activists in Hong Kong started on Monday, 6 February 2023,  this comes two years after they were charged with ”conspiracy to commit subversion”.

Arrested under the changes to China’s national security laws which triggered large and sometimes violent protests in the city. The activists face life in prison if convicted. The group was arrested in dawn raids in January 2021 and charged in March 2021 after organizing an unofficial primary a year earlier to select opposition candidates.

Their goal was to gain control of the city’s partly elected legislature, which would enable the bloc to forward the demands of the demonstrators and maybe compel Hong Kong’s leader, the Beijing-approved John Lee Ka-chiu to quit.

Prosecutors say the unofficial political primary was part of a “vicious plot” to subvert the local government and bring what they called “mutual destruction” to it, by taking control of the assembly. Four of the 47 arrested will testify against the 16 now on trial.

The trail is expected to last 90 days.

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