Shenzhen starts trial for HK detainees' illegal border crossing

By Chen Qingqing Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/28 21:33:40

File Photo:Xinhua


Shenzhen's Yantian District People's Court opened the trial of 10 Hong Kong residents who were detained in August for illegally entering Chinese mainland waters, with the court hearing the public prosecution's opinions as well as the suspects' defense. It will announce the sentencing another day, the court said on Monday. 

Their cases have been hyped up by anti-government forces in Hong Kong and Western politicians questioning the legitimacy of law enforcement in China. However, the Chinese authorities, without being interfered upon by "external noise," have been pushing forward legal procedures in line with Chinese laws, no matter how hard some countries like the US have tried to interfere with China's judicial sovereignty, according to legal experts.  

Journalists and relatives of the suspects attended the trial, the court said in a public statement, rebutting some reports claiming the case was conducted "in secret," violating the legitimate rights of the Hong Kong residents in question. 

The 10 suspects pleaded guilty in court in the hope of getting lesser punishment, Hong Kong-based reported. 

The Chinese mainland Coast Guard arrested 12 Hong Kong people suspected of illegally crossing the border in August. Shenzhen prosecutors charged two of the 12 Hong Kong residents with organizing an illegal border crossing and eight others for illegally crossing the border on December 16. As two suspects are under age 18, as minors, their trial will not be open to the public.

As the trial began, the US Embassy in China called on the Chinese authorities to immediately release the 12 and permit them to leave, Reuters said, citing a statement the embassy released on Monday.

"The US has not stopped pressuring China on Hong Kong-related affairs, trying to tell existing secessionist forces in Hong Kong that they are supported by external forces," Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs from Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times on Monday. 

However, no matter how hard the US tries to make a fuss over this matter, such ill-intentioned moves have no impact on the decisive moves from the Chinese government in safeguarding its sovereignty, security and development interests, Li noted. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian also slammed remarks from the US Embassy on Monday, saying the embassy is ignoring the facts and confusing right and wrong, "to which China is firmly opposed," the spokesperson said at a routine press conference. 

In spite of noise made by countries like the US, Chinese authorities have been conducting the case step by step, some experts said, as charges relevant to illegally crossing the border could lead to sentences up to seven years.

"China handles a large amount of criminal cases every year, would the US government be able to meddle in them one after another?" Li asked. 

According to Article 318 of the Criminal Law of China, whoever organizes people to secretly cross the national boundary (border) shall be sentenced to no less than two years and not more than seven years of fixed-term imprisonment and a fine; or not less than seven years of fixed-term imprisonment or life imprisonment, and may, in addition, be sentenced to a fine or confiscation of property.

"The US has extended their hands too far, which, however, won't work," Li said. 

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