Senior official on HK affairs urges severe punishment for anti-China disrupters Benny Tai, Joshua Wong and Jimmy Lai in speech
Published: Mar 01, 2021 04:07 PM
Benny Tai Yiu-ting file photo: VCG

Benny Tai Yiu-ting file photo: VCG

The latest edition of Zijing magazine has published the full text of a recent speech by Xia Baolong, head of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, concerning the standards and fundamentals for upcoming Hong Kong political reforms, in which the senior Chinese official mentioned some extreme rioters including Benny Tai, Joshua Wong and Jimmy Lai by name, saying that they should be severely punished. 

The Hong Kong-based magazine unveiled the full text of Xia's speech on Monday, after the short version was published on the office's website last week which did not include the parts that mentioned the anti-government figures in Hong Kong. 

The top official on Hong Kong affairs also clarified three major standards for being a patriot to meet the principle of "only patriots can govern Hong Kong."

Tai, a former professor at the University of Hong Kong, along with anti-government figure Wong who took part extensively in anti-government protests in 2019 which resulted in months-long social turmoil and chaos, were both formally charged with subversion on Sunday. Lai, Apple Daily founder and a notorious anti-government figure, is widely seen as a "modern day traitor" for his vicious acts and deeds in instigating one of the most violent riots in Hong Kong in 2019. He was charged under the national security law for Hong Kong for colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security in December. 

"In terms of those rioters who are anti-China and who instigate riots with extremely notorious acts, for example, Jimmy Lai, Benny Tai and Joshua Wong, they are not only prohibited from interfering in any public power of the HKSAR, they also need to be punished severely in accordance with the law," Xia was quoted as saying in the article. 

The facts show that since Hong Kong returned to the motherland over 20 years ago, a few anti-China rioters have only brought damage, turbulence and terror to Hong Kong, and only patriots can help local residents pursue happiness, bringing stability and prosperity to the city, the senior Chinese official said. 

Tai was also among 47 anti-government figures in Hong Kong who were formally charged with conspiring to subvert state power. In addition to Tai, those charged also include some former lawmakers and district councillors. The case was scheduled to be heard at West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts Monday morning but was postponed to the afternoon. 

A long queue was seen outside the court on Monday morning, with hundreds of people expected to attend the hearing, according to local media. The case is also the largest-scale prosecution since the national security law for Hong Kong took effect last year.

Serious offenders against the national security law for Hong Kong could face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and be denied bail, according to the law. 

The prosecutions come ahead of the imminent electoral reform in Hong Kong that aims to ensure that the city's political system meets the principle that only patriots govern Hong Kong and is expected to become a major focus at the upcoming two sessions. 

Xia also unveiled in the speech published in the magazine hints on how the reform will be implemented, noting that Hong Kong must establish a democratic electoral system with Hong Kong characteristics based on the current situation in Hong Kong. He also called for the scope of public participation in the local elections to be expanded in order to achieve balanced participation while breaking the limits of constituencies, districts and specific groups.

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