Young Hong Kong pro-democracy activists undergoing 're-education' in prison

Jailed youth are also forced to endure military training, as well as “brainwashing" like Uyghurs in Xinjiang and Chinese Catholics not aligned with the Communist Party of China. Hong Kong students are fed compulsory patriotic education. Catholic media mogul Jimmy Lai scores a small legal victory in his national security case.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Young pro-democracy activists jailed for participating in the 2019 protests are being forced to undergo “patriotic education” and military training.

As Radio Free Asia notes, for Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing authorities, these youths hold “extreme ideological views” and must be re-educated.

In essence, it is the same treatment that, according to the Office of the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, China inflicts upon Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, accused of terrorism and separatism.

It is no different from the brainwashing Catholic bishops and priests are often subjected to in order to get them to join the official Church, controlled by the Communist Party of China.

Three years ago, Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement staged mass demonstrations against the adoption of a law that would allow extradition to China.

The protests then expanded to include calls for universal suffrage and greater popular control over the government.

According to the Hong Kong government, among the tens of thousands of people arrested, more than a thousand were under the age of 18.

On 31 August, Security Secretary Chris Tang told Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) that prosecutors had tried 517 minors arrested in connection with the 2019 protests.

In addition to the obligation of marches and military drills, youth in custody must attend classes in “moral and civic education" and national security.

Similar educational programmes have also been imposed on students in primary and secondary schools, as well as universities. This follows China’s imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong in the summer of 2020 designed to crush pro-democracy forces.

Meanwhile, legal proceedings against pro-democracy figures under the aforementioned law continue.

Today it was announced that 17 political figures accused of subversion for organising or taking part in the 2020 primary elections for pro-democracy parties would go on trial on 30 January 2023. Unlike 30 other defendants, they chose to plead not guilty.

For his part, Catholic media mogul Jimmy Lai Small scored a small legal victory today. In jail for almost two years, he is awaiting trial charged with threatening national security.

The High Court rejected an appeal by the Hong Kong Department of Justice against its earlier decision to allow the pro-democracy activist to be defended by a British lawyer. The trial is scheduled to begin on 1 December.