02/26/2021, 09.53
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Hong Kong, dozens of democracy activists risk more prison

They were arrested in January for organizing and taking part in the July primary. A repeat of the Jimmy Lai case is feared. The group includes Benny Tai, strategist of the electoral campaign. Accused of "wanting to win the election". Chinese university students’ union banned.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Democracy activists arrested in January for subversion under the national security law will have to report to the police on February 28 to check their bail terms. The convocation, reported by the activists involved, comes a month earlier than the date previously established following their release on January 8th.

It also follows after this week’s High Court rejection of the bail request by democracy activist and media mogul Jimmy Lai, who remains in prison. The group now anticipate a pre-trial detention and being immediately sent back to trial.

The 53 Democrats are being charged with trying to secure 35 or more seats on the anti-government front in the September elections (later postponed). It would thus have had the numbers to block the approval of the budget law and force Carrie Lam - head of the executive - to resign. In July, all those arrested had taken part or had contributed to the organization of the democratic primaries to compete in the imminent renewal of the Legco.

Among those who will have to appear before the police is the jurist Benny Tai, the architect of the Democratic primaries and of the "35-plus" strategy, who should have guaranteed the opposition a majority in the Legco for the first time since his return of the city under Chinese sovereignty. Three of the 53 arrested are already in prison: Wu Chi-wai, former president of the Democratic Party, and political activists Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Tam Tak-chi.

The direction taken by the city authorities is that of ever greater repression. Yesterday, the Chinese University of Hong Kong announced that it was terminating relations with the Student Union, whose new leaders are accused of making "false" statements that threatened national security. The university has made it clear that students who incite illegal behaviour will be suspended or expelled

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