The court case of 47 detained Hong Kong democracy activists resumes today.
In September, Magistrate Peter Law of the Western Kowloon Court delayed the case stating that more time was needed for pre-trial legal proceedings. Many of the activists have been in custody for over 6 months and only 14 of the 47 have been given bail.
The activists, which include opposition politicians, are among the over 100 people currently being prosecuted under Hong Kong’s controversial National Security Law. Diplomats and human rights groups are criticizing that the case demonstrates the failing independence of Hong Kong’s judiciary system.
Rulings on the case will mark another turning point in Hong Kong’s independence, as Beijing will likely exert heavy influence over the prosecution of these democracy activists. Judges have resigned from the High Court over concerns that the judiciary was becoming less independent, and Justices Reed and Hodge have expressed their intentions to do the same if this trend continues. After the case, expect a mass exodus of judges, causing lasting damage to Hong Kong’s overall autonomy and giving Beijing an opportunity to replace pro-independence judges with those closely aligned with the Chinese Communist Party.
Colin serves on the current developments team as a research analyst. He has previously published research on China and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Contributing regularly to the Daily Brief, Colin's areas of focus include China, climate change, and ASEAN.