09/30/2021, 13.01
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Hong Kong, even 15-year-olds in school uniforms are a threat to national security

Student hears charges being read in front of tearful mother. Seven members of the group Returning Valiant, including four minors, were denied bail. Accused of conspiring to incite subversion. The assets of the Alliance that organizes the annual Tiananmen vigil frozen.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Pro-Beijing city authorities claim that even 15-year-olds can be a threat to national security. The Magistrates' Court of West Kowloon yesterday indicted seven members of the group Returning Valiant on charges of conspiring to incite subversion.

The crime is punishable under the draconian security law imposed last year by the central government.

The defendants, who include four minors, were denied bail by judges. A student in a school uniform listened to the charges being read in front of her tearful mother.

On September 28, police arrested another person belonging to Returning Valiant. Between May and June, police had already detained 14 members of the group for allegedly possessing explosives and pro-independence material.

As reported by the Hong Kong Free Press, the hearing was attended by more than 100 people, including family members of the accused. Some of those in the public shouted at the youth to resist. The city's criminal laws prohibit the press from giving details of the proceedings and the names of the accused.

In another blow to the pro-democracy camp, the city's national security police yesterday froze the assets of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which on June 4 each year organizes the traditional vigil in remembrance of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.

The Alliance has been targeted by Carrie Lam's executive and pro-Beijing personalities for months. In early September, the IDF arrested five of its leaders. Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Ho, among the most important figures of the democratic group, have been in prison for some time on charges of participating in illegal demonstrations in 2019.

Facing pressure from the authorities, the Alliance had decided to disband on September 25. Two historic organizations had previously done so: The Teachers' Union and the Civil Human Rights Front. The first was the largest sectoral city union, the second the main democratic coalition. Now the existence of the Hong Kong Journalists Association is also at risk.

Security Secretary Chris Tang did not answer the journalists' question whether Hong Kong citizens will still be able to commemorate the events of Tiananmen. He merely said that the police will evaluate on a case-by-case basis, as with the possibility of celebrating Taiwan's national holiday on Oct. 10.  

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