The first person convicted under Hong Kong’s national security law was sentenced on Friday to nine years in prison, judges said, in a watershed ruling with long-term implications for the city’s judicial landscape. Former waiter Tong Ying-kit was sentenced to six and a half years in jail for the incitement to secession charge, and another eight years for allegedly committing acts of terror.
Hong Kong police arrested five people on Thursday on sedition charges, saying that children’s books they had published featuring wolves and sheep as characters were aimed at inciting hatred towards the city’s government amongst youngsters. The arrests were the latest involving suspected critics of Hong Kong’s government that have raised fears about the shrinking space for dissent since Beijing imposed a national security law in June 2020.
Hong Kong’s sole remaining pro-democracy newspaper will publish its last edition Thursday, forced to shut down after five editors and executives were arrested and millions of dollars in its assets were frozen as part of China’s increasing crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous city. Apple Daily was founded by tycoon Jimmy Lai in 1995 — just two years before Britain handed Hong Kong back to China
Hong Kong police have arrested a prominent barrister for allegedly promoting an unauthorized assembly on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, as thousands of officers were deployed to enforce a ban on protests and gatherings across the city. Thousands of police were deployed on Friday to enforce a ban on the city’s traditional candlelight vigil, which has drawn huge crowds to Victoria Park on 4 June for more than three decades.
A 90-year old woman from Hong Kong has been scammed out of HK$250 million (£23m, $32m) by fraudsters pretending to be Chinese officials, police said. Hong Kong police said the criminals had posed as public security officials investigating a criminal case in China. She was then coerced into making 11 deposits to a bank account between August and January – to help the alleged investigation.
Ten of Hong Kong’s most senior pro-democracy activists including the media mogul Jimmy Lai have been sentenced to jail terms of up to 18 months for organizing or attending “unauthorized assemblies” during mass protests that rocked the city in 2019. In the latest blow to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, the individuals were either ordered to jail or given suspended sentences in relation to two separate rallies held on 18 and 31 August 2019.
Seven of Hong Kong’s most senior and prominent pro-democracy figures, including lawyer and former legislator Martin Lee and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, have been found guilty over their involvement in an unauthorized protest rally. After a four-week trial, the defendants were convicted on Thursday of organizing and participating in the rally in 2019, joining two others who had pled guilty earlier.
China has passed sweeping changes to Hong Kong’s electoral rules which will tighten its control over the city. The number of directly elected seats in parliament has been cut almost by half, and prospective MPs will first be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee to ensure their loyalty to the mainland. The aim is to ensure only “patriotic” figures can run for positions of power.
China’s legislature has approved a resolution to make sweeping changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system. The measures were passed with 2,985 votes in favor, and zero against, in China’s National People’s Congress (NPC). A “candidate qualification review committee” will be established to vet candidates for election to Hong Kong’s parliament, the Legislative Council said. Chinese officials have said that the changes will ensure “patriots” are in control of Hong Kong.
China moved to overhaul Hong Kong’s electoral system on Friday in a further blow to democracy in the city and unexpectedly set an economic growth target for this year, albeit a modest one, as it kicked off its annual session of parliament. Beijing proposed legislation that would tighten its increasingly authoritarian grip on Hong Kong by making changes to the electoral committee that chooses the city’s leader.