Hong Kong jails 20-year-old activist under national security law

20-year-old Tony Chung was accused of segregation comprehensive national security law, and was denied money laundering and bail in October 2020. Local media reported at the time that he, along with two others, had been detained at a coffee shop near the United States consulate by unidentified people and believed to be preparing an asylum application.

Chung had entered into a plea bargain, pleading not guilty to one count of separation and one count of money laundering and pleading not guilty to one treason charge and another money laundering charge.

The plea sought a 25% reduction in his sentence, 40 months for isolation and 18 months for money laundering. Only three months of the latter would be given separately, resulting in a total sentence of 43 months.

“He actively organized, planned and implemented activities to tear the country apart,” District Court Judge Stanley Chan said.

Prosecutor Evan Cheung has said that the defendant acted as an administrator for the Facebook pages of the American branch of Studentlocalism and an organization called the Initiative Independence Party.

Prosecutors said pro-independence T-shirts, flags and books were also seized from his home. The money laundering allegation was related to donations he received through PayPal.

Like other anti-government organisations, studentism was disbanded in June 2020 before Beijing enacted a security law that punishes it with up to life in prison in the form of sabotage, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. Is.

The majority of Hong Kong people do not support independence, but any mention of this idea is a curse for Beijing.

Since the enforcement of the security law, Hong Kong has taken a sharp authoritarian turn, with most democratic politicians now in prison or self-imposed exile. Dozens of civil society organizations have been torn down and some international rights groups have left the city.

Chinese and Hong Kong officials deny the security law trumps individual rights and say the law was necessary to restore stability after massive street protests in 2019.

The former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise of a high degree of autonomy. Democracy activists and some Western governments say China has broken that promise – a charge that Beijing vehemently denies.