A State Department spokesperson also told The Epoch Times in an email, “The United States condemns the re-detention of these individuals under Hong Kong's National Security Law. We call on the Hong Kong authorities to immediately release those still held and to drop the charges against them.
The subversion charge was in connection to participation in an unofficial primary vote held by Hong Kong's pan-democracy camp in July last year, ahead of the Legislative Council (LegCo) elections in September 2020. The objective behind the vote was for the camp to field the most promising candidates to run for legislative office—ultimately with the goal to secure a majority or more than 35 seats in LegCo.
“We continue to call on Beijing to stop undermining Hong Kong's autonomy and democratic processes and to uphold China’s obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” the spokesperson concluded.
Among those charged were former lawmakers Claudia Mo, Leung Kwok-hung, and Alvin Yeung; district counselors Jimmy Sham and Tiffany Yeun; and Benny Tai, former Hong Kong University law professor and organizer of the primary elections.
They were detained overnight and are scheduled to appear at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
At 10:30 a.m. on Monday, nearly 1,000 locals have shown up outside of the courthouse voicing support, many queueing up for the court hearing. Many chanted “Release all political prisoners” while others gestured five fingers, which represent the five demands including universal suffrage that Hong Kong protesters have been calling for since they took to the streets in mass protests in June 2019.
“It shows in the starkest terms the NSL [national security law] being used to eliminate political dissent rather than restore order—contrary to what the Chinese government promised,” Raab wrote.
“The nature of these charges makes clear that legitimate political pluralism will no longer be tolerated in Hong Kong,” it wrote. “The EU calls for the immediate release of those arrested.”
“This proves the #CCP cares nothing for freedom & individual rights, only power,” Wu wrote, before adding a few words of encouragement to the 47 activists. “Friends! Hang in there. Long & dark is the night, but the sun always rises.”