China is cracking down on it. In Hong Kong, 47 democracy activists are on trial - including former MPs and a legal scholar. The accusation: They wanted to overthrow the government by organizing unofficial primary elections.
A trial against 47 democracy activists has begun in Hong Kong. It is the largest trial under the controversial National Security Law enacted by Beijing. It is expected that the procedures could take several months. The accused face life imprisonment if convicted.
Those on trial include legal scholar Benny Tai, former MPs Claudia Mo, Au Nok-hin and Leung Kwok-hung, and democracy activists Joshua Wong and Lester Shum. They are charged with "conspiracy to subvert". They are accused of wanting to overthrow the government by organizing unofficial primary elections. Several people gathered in front of the court with placards calling for the "release of all political prisoners".
Until a few years ago, the Chinese special administrative region of Hong Kong was a bastion of freedom of expression in China. Since Beijing passed a so-called security law in 2020, however, massive action has been taken against pro-democracy activists and other voices critical of Beijing. The authorities are also using a law against "riots" dating back to the British colonial era.