According to UN human rights experts, there is concern in the international community about the misuse of terrorism and sedition charges to stifle the exercise of fundamental rights in Hong Kong, including freedom of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, and participation in public affairs.
Another serious charge used by Chinese authorities, under the umbrella of the national security law, is the crime of “foreign agent” against Hong Kong civil society organizations. They are accused of receiving money from foreign governments and using it in activities “commissioned” by these governments to subvert order.
The crime of sedition, rebellion against the government, in particular, has in recent decades moved in international law and good legal practice toward what might be called a profound updating of citizen participation.
From the 19th to the 20th century, sedition was handled from the perspective of crimes “against the powers of the state,” where citizens had little room to manage public affairs. For example, they could do little against corrupt institutions or governments without being accused of sedition before the Great Leviathan.
The current interpretation of sedition “against the constitution,” is a legal update to safeguard the fundamental rights of citizens, and the duties to the nation, without sacrificing the freedoms granted in the constitution.
For citizens who organize to oppose the government, or the state, undermining the legality safeguarded by the Magna Carta, are not guilty of sedition. The Magna Carta is a royal charter of rights agreed to by King John of England in 1215.
However, communist countries continue to use the old nomenclature, “against the powers of the state,” because it guarantees them absolute impunity in the face of a scenario of wrongdoing of their own making. This makes due process and the presumption of innocence impracticable in such cases.
For example, Chow Hang-Tung, a prestigious Hong Kong human rights lawyer was arrested on September 8, 2021, on charges of “inciting subversion” and being a “foreign agent.” Chow was a member of the Alliance, a civil society group that organized the annual vigil to commemorate the 1989 events of Tiananmen Square.
A few days ago, on September 27, two Hong Kong human rights activists, were arrested for the crime of sedition for “stirring up” hatred on social networks against the Communist Party. Kwai Tsing and Sham Shui Po, according to the Police National Security Department, misused social networks such as Instagram and Liandong to provoke sedition.
Two other residents of the city were also convicted on September 27 in the West Kowloon court for sedition.
Police allege that Chen Weilun, posted 38 opinion articles on the “Lian Deng discussion forum,” inciting rebellion, which were made public between December 24, 2021, and June 23, 2022.
According to the National Security Law, Chen Weilun will be in prison for 16 weeks for using headlines on his social networks such as “early destruction of the CCP,” “Hong Kong must lead China,” or “it is time for revolution in Hong Kong.” For the Police Department, such headlines are sufficient cause to convict him of disorderly conduct.
The other convicted person is Chen Guanxu, who was sentenced by magistrate Luo Quan, to 5 months in prison for developing a series of 44 pro-democracy articles, between January 17, 2021, and June 13, 2022, which were determined to be hate messages against the CCP.
However, all this appalling legislation applied against human rights defenders in Hong Kong, which proves that the CCP’s policy of “one country two systems” is a false one, has not been able to dismantle the anti-extradition movement, arch enemy of the Communist Party, where all the political forces that today resist the repression of the CCP coexist.