Protests in 35 cities to save 12 Hong Kong prisoners held in China
Some 3,000 people took part in a protest in Taiwan, including Lam Wing-kee, a former bookseller seized by China in 2015. Protest organisers fear that the young prisoners will suffer oppression, torture, and forced confessions. This might be a test case to see how far the mainland will go to implement its new security law.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – More than 35 cities came together online to save 12 young, pro-democracy activists from Hong Kong held in mainland China where, it is feared, they might be subjected to oppression, torture, forced confessions, etc.
China’s coast guard stopped the twelve in August on a speedboat. According to Chinese authorities, they were in China’s territorial waters and were trying to flee to Taiwan.
Since then, they have been held in a Shenzhen prison, but their families have not been allowed to visit them. They have also been denied the right to choose their own legal counsel. The Chinese government requires prisoners to choose from a list of lawyers they provide.
The twelve are accused of "separatism" because of their involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. Hong Kong authorities have asked for the twelve’s extradition, but have not received any response yet. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, seems to be trying to gain time.
The 35 cities that participated in the online event, each in their own way, included San Francisco, New York, Toronto, as well as cities in South Korea, Japan, Holland, and Sweden.
In Taiwan, at least 3,000 people took to the streets of the capital (pictured). One of them was Lam Wing-kee, one of the bookstore owners seized by China in 2015 for selling books that criticised China's political leaders. Lam eventually sought refuge in Taiwan.
Some observers are paying closer attention to what is happening in Hong Kong to see whether Beijing will routinely interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs, and take to court people on alleged violations of the national security law that it imposed on the city.
The new law makes it an offence to engage in secession, subversion, terrorism and collaboration with foreign forces.