Six members of HK secessionist organization promoting 'uprising' plead guilty to conspiracy to subvert state power
Published: Aug 20, 2022 03:43 PM
Photo taken on Aug. 21, 2019 shows the headquarters of the Hong Kong Police Force. (Photo: Xinhua)

Photo taken on Aug. 21, 2019 shows the headquarters of the Hong Kong Police Force. (Photo: Xinhua)

Six members of a Hong Kong secessionist organization pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to subvert state power" in Hong Kong on Saturday. 

Legal experts said the case marked the first time that minors have pleaded guilty to the crime of subversion of state power under the national security law for Hong Kong, which delivers a message of deterrence to those who intend to endanger national security, especially the young in Hong Kong. 

At the court on Saturday, the six people pleaded guilty, aged between 16 and 26. Four of them were underage, consisting of two girls and two boys. Another member besides the six, who is one of the organizers of the organization, applied for adjournment, according to Hong Kong media. 

The members from the secessionist organization, called "Returning Valiant," were arrested by officers from the office for safeguarding national security with the Hong Kong police force in 2021 for the suspicion of promoting subversion of state power, and charged with one count of conspiracy to incite others to subvert state power. 

Media reports said previously they distributed publicity leaflets on the streets many times last year to advocate for "armed uprising" to overthrow the government. 

Tian Feilong, a legal expert at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Saturday that the case delivers a strong message of deterrence to those who intend to endanger national security and reminds them that harming national security will result in legal punishments, whether for grownups or the underage. Those teenagers should have been aware of the harms that their illegal behaviors have brought to their own families and the society. 

Tian said the final verdict will weigh a balance between how to teach those young people a lesson by issuing proper criminal liability that they should bear, and how to better introduce them back to the society to make the judicial act and the education on minors better combined.

Also, this week, dozens of former local politicians and extreme separatist activists in other sectors involved in the infamous "35-plus" political strategy in 2020, including former legal professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting and secessionist Joshua Wong Chi-fung, pleaded guilty to "conspiring to subvert state power" on Thursday. The case will be handed over to the Hong Kong High Court for sentencing in September and November.

On Saturday, a spokesperson from the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Hong Kong SAR expressed strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to a handful of American and British politicians who attempted to intervene in the rule of law in Hong Kong SAR and hype up the proper judicial procedures of the city, urging them stop their behavior and despicable acts of making Hong Kong into a chaotic place so as to contain China. 

The spokesperson said that when the separatists already pleaded their guilty, a few politicians from the UK and US still opted to confuse the right and wrong in an attempt to intervene in Hong Kong SAR' rule of law and internal affairs. 

The relevant judicial procedures in the Hong Kong SAR ensured a fair trial and upheld judicial order, about which the external forces have no right to doubt, the spokesperson said.

Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the rule of law in the SAR has made steady progress. In particular, since the enactment and implementation of the national security law and the improvement of the electoral system in Hong Kong, the city has returned to the right track, with the rule of law and justice being upheld, and the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents under the law now better protected, the spokesperson added.