Some 345 prisoners are under 21 years old. More than 10,000 people were arrested in connection with pro-democracy demonstrations. Almost 500 prisoners took part in "deradicalisation" programmes to help them “rebuild positive values”. This is the same re-education that Beijing reserves for Uyghurs and underground Catholics, which it plans to impose on the Taiwanese once Taiwan is reconquered.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – At least 1,315 people have been jailed or sent other correctional facilities following protests that broke out in June 2019 when thousands took to the streets for months to protest against the extradition bill (later scrapped) and more broadly demand freedom and democracy.
Hong Kong’s Security Secretary Chris Tang made public the figure, noting that 345 of those convicted are under the age of 21.
According to data released in October by his department, police arrested more than 10,000 people involved in pro-democracy demonstrations.
About 3,000, including 517 minors, ended up on trial. Of these, 2,044 completed the judicial process, with 1,631 convicted with various legal consequences such as prison, probation, or community services.
The offences attributed to those sent to correctional facilities included rioting, unlawful assembly, and possession of offensive weapons.
The crackdown by local authorities in the wake of the 2019 protests – especially after mainland China adopted a national security law in 2020 – has effectively limited, suspended or cancelled the rights of assembly, association, expression, and political participation.
Tang said that 474 offenders successfully completed in the PATH programme to help them "rebuild positive values.”
Run by the Correctional Services Department, the "deradicalisation" project involves teaching Chinese history, moral and civic education to strengthen the sense of national identity. It also includes psychological support and help with reintegration into society.
Hong Kong authorities have also adopted much stricter "re-educational" initiatives for jailed young pro-democracy activists who are required to follow "patriotic education" and military training sessions.
For Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing government, minors with "extreme ideological views" must be re-educated.
This is the same treatment the UN Commissioner for Human Rights says China reserves for Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, accused of terrorism and separatism.
It is also no different from the "brainwashing" Catholic bishops and priests are often subjected to in order to push them to join the "official" Church, controlled by the Communist Party of China.
Beijing also does not hide its desire to re-educate the Taiwanese as well. In August, China's ambassador to France, Lu Shaye, reiterated that the Taiwanese will have to be "re-educated" when the "rebel" province is reunified with mainland China.
Lu said that the re-education of the Taiwanese is necessary because Taiwanese authorities have "indoctrinated and intoxicated" the population with an anti-Chinese education.
According to the high-ranking Chinese diplomat, "secessionist thoughts and theories" must be erased from the minds of the island's inhabitants.