First NSL case appealed as students, Olympics spectators arrested . . .
On Tuesday, Tong Ying-kit, the first person tried under Hong Kong’s year-old National Security Law (NSL), filed an appeal to his conviction and nine-year prison sentence on secessionism and terrorism charges. Hong Kong’s High Court held last month that, Tong’s driving a motorcycle into three police officers in 2020 and his use of the popular pro-democracy demonstrator slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times” could incite others to commit secessionism. Meanwhile, Hong Kong University Student Union leaders who passed a motion mourning a man who attacked police officers and then committed suicide have since been charged under the NSL. Police have also arrested a man for booing the Chinese national anthem at an Olympics viewing and warned that disrespecting the national anthem may contravene the NSL.
Major unions and civil society groups disband . . .
Pressure from government officials and pro-establishment media has compelled several prominent pro-democracy groups to disband. The Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, which represents over 90 per cent of the city’s educators, abruptly announced its disbandment last Tuesday. The move follows the decision by the city’s Education Bureau to cut ties with the union and calls by mainland state media outlets for the union to be “eradicated” like a “malignant tumour.” The government argued that the union had become a “political group,” a charge that the union disputed. Meanwhile, the Civil Human Rights Front, an organization that has organized Hong Kong’s annual July 1 protests, announced its disbandment on Sunday. State media outlets and police have warned that disbandment would not protect both groups from criminal liability.
Election committee takes shape . . .
Hong Kong’s political landscape has dramatically changed in the lead-up to the December Legislative Council elections, which were postponed from last year due to the pandemic. Changes to Hong Kong’s electoral process will see a revamped Election Committee selecting 40 of the 90 seats of the Legislative Council and vetting all other Legislative Council candidates. The Election Committee will be formed a mix of appointments and subsector elections in September. So far, 75 per cent of the Election Committee nominees will run uncontested for their seats, and only three nominees who do not consider themselves “pro-establishment” have put their names forward. Most of the nominees are business or political elites with affiliations in Hong Kong and the mainland.
- The Economist: Hong Kong’s government is crushing the city’s pro-democracy unions
- Hong Kong Free Press: Analysis: How almost everyone running for Hong Kong’s new election committee will get a seat automatically
- South China Morning Post: National security law: What you need to know about Hong Kong’s first trial under Beijing-imposed legislation