External intervention should be scorned in HK detainees’ illegal border crossing case: Global Times editorial
Published: Dec 30, 2020 04:41 PM

Western smear Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The Yantian People's Court in Shenzhen on Wednesday publicly sentenced the 10 Hong Kong residents who were detained in August for illegally entering Chinese mainland waters. Two of them were sentenced to imprisonment of three years and two years respectively for planning and organizing the illegal crossing. The other eight were sentenced to seven months in prison for illegally crossing the border. The 10 persons were also handed fines ranging from 10,000 ($1,531) to 20,000 yuan ($3,062).

In August, the above-mentioned 10 Hong Kong residents and another two underage Hong Kong residents took a speedboat from the city of Hong Kong and tried to flee to the island of Taiwan. The speedboat was found and detained by the Chinese mainland Coast Guard when it was passing through the waters under the jurisdiction of South China's Guangdong Province. The 12 people were later arrested. During their detention, they confessed to organizing and implementing the illegal border crossing. Shenzhen's Yantian People's Court opened the trial of the case on Monday.

During the detention and trial of the 12 Hong Kong residents, the US, the UK and a handful of other countries, ignoring the basic criminal facts and the clear information that the 12 persons were treated in a humanitarian way, harshly violated the norms of international relations, repeatedly violated China's judicial sovereignty and demanded the unconditional release of the 12 people. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wantonly claimed that the 12 residents "fled tyranny." Undoubtedly, such an arrogant interference was flatly rejected by China.

The handling of the case has strictly complied with legal procedures from filing to investigation, trial, and sentencing. The 12 persons' legitimate rights have been fully protected. It took more than four months to come to the final verdict, which is not slow at all. The 10 adults behaved well after being arrested and pleaded guilty. Thus, they all received lesser punishments. The other two were exempted from prosecution because they were underage when they were arrested.

The claim of "fled tyranny" is a shameless clamor and incitement ignoring the basic rule of law and civilization. Due to their political hatred of China, politicians like Pompeo have completely ignored the legitimacy of the judicial systems of the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong. They are drawing lines based on the US interests and barbarically claiming what is legal or illegal in China. This is completely nonsense.

Fortunately, China is powerful enough to reject their delusion of interfering in Hong Kong affairs. Their pretentious protests and appeals have all turned out to be cheap performances. No one believes that will produce any effect.

Hong Kong residents have legal channels for visiting the island of Taiwan or anywhere in the world. They can go there in full dignity. But according to the information released by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the 12 persons wanted to sneak into Taiwan because they are wanted in Hong Kong. Ten of them had been prosecuted and were on bail. They were prohibited from leaving Hong Kong. Fleeing as stowaways added to their crimes.

These people were tried in the Chinese mainland and they selected lawyers to defend themselves. The procedure was legitimate and impeccable. The criminals wanted some of their relatives to come to the court hearings but not all of them came in the end. As for the reason, the Global Times has learned that the COVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong is severe at the moment, and the criminals' relatives needed to be quarantined under the epidemic prevention regulations if they came to Shenzhen to attend the hearings. Some of the relatives thus chose not to attend the trial. Shenzhen had no motive to hinder their family members from attending the trial. The Chinese mainland has been magnanimous in handling the case.

This is an ordinary criminal case and the whole process has been proper and clear. However, the governments of the US, the UK and a handful of other countries, as well as the Western public opinion, have made it a hot case. Some Western diplomats and media all wanted to get involved to show their presence. This is completely their deliberate hype for ideological purposes.

As a country with judicial sovereignty, it is China's own business to judge cases. But now the US and some Western countries frequently find fault with China's judgments and their diplomats in China request to attend the trials, as if they are in their own country. They are mistaken about who they are and about the times. In the end, they will only be frustrated time and again and become the laughing stock of the international community.

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