China’s ‘security laws’ target public freedom in Hong Kong – Ward

A 24-year-old may face life in prison following the first trial under the new laws

28th July 2021 - Senator Barry Ward

A Fine Gael Senator has strongly criticised the new ‘security’ laws imposed in Hong Kong by China, following the conviction of a 24-year-old in a juryless trial.

Senator Barry Ward, the Irish Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) and a practising barrister, said, “China’s new so-called ‘security law’ is not a law, but a diktat that has been imposed on the pro-democracy activists who rallied against China’s extradition of voices of political dissent in Hong Kong. I wholeheartedly condemn these unjustifiable, draconian measures.

“While the conviction of 24-year-old Tong Ying-kit was a rare case, as he was one of the few people arrested who had actually committed an act of violence, the majority of charges make reference to ‘incitement of secession’.

“By seeking to imprison young people who have stood up for democracy in Hong Kong, China demonstrates that its intention is to control and ultimately suppress public debate and freedom of expression.

“Sadly, these trials, most of which relate to civil disobedience rather than violence, are being held without a jury. Instead, they are overseen by a selection of judges who have been handpicked by Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing administration.

“I fear that Hong Kong’s common-law legal system is being torn down and replaced by the totalitarian system of the People’s Republic of China; a system that aims to silence those who are critical of the State.

“Ireland must send out a strong message, as a member of the United Nations Security Council and of the European Union, that freedom and democracy must prevail in any modern society. I call on China to reverse its actions in Hong Kong.”

 

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