Hong Kong’s first national security law trial ends, waiting for judgment
Nearly a month later, the trial of the first person indicted under the fully implemented National Security Law in Hong Kong ended on Tuesday. Now observers will wait for the verdict in this landmark case to see how to deal with similar cases. case.
The 24-year-old Tong Yingjie was accused of driving a motorcycle into a group of people while holding a protest slogan that read “Recover Hong Kong, Revolution of the Times” on July 1st last year, the day after the national protests ended. Policemen. A safety law was enacted.
He pleaded not guilty to other charges of inciting secession, terrorism and dangerous driving.
The trial is conducted in the High Court without a jury, which is different from the common law system in Hong Kong. The verdict will be made on July 27, and if convicted, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
National security cases that need to protect state secrets, involve foreign forces, or need to protect the personal safety of jurors may not be tried by a jury. The trial was presided over by a judge personally selected by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
Last year, Beijing implemented a national security law on the semi-autonomous Hong Kong, after months of anti-government protests were disturbed by China’s gradual influence on the former British colony. It prohibits secession, subversion, terrorism, and foreign collusion to interfere in urban affairs.
The authorities also banned the protest slogan “Recover Hong Kong, Revolution of the Times”, saying that it has separatist connotations.
The ensuing legislation and suppression of dissent aroused condemnation from the international community. Critics claim that the National Security Act further violates the freedoms Hong Kong promised when it was handed over from Britain to Chinese control in 1997.
According to security legislation, more than 100 people have been arrested.
Tang’s case is being closely watched to find clues on how the Hong Kong authorities will handle other national security cases.
Interpretation is the key
In this case, the interpretation of the protest slogan is the key. The prosecutor said that the split may be an interpretation of the slogan “Recover Hong Kong, the revolution of the times”, and Tong Ming knowingly raised his flag against the police to instigate the split.
Tong’s defense attorney argued that there are multiple explanations for such slogans, which cannot prove that Tong incited the secession of the country. The defense also stated that there is no evidence that Tong was deliberate and that he did not hit the police.
The defense also stated that Tang’s actions should not be regarded as terrorism because there was no serious violence or harm to society.