‘Nearly Every Main Voice of Dissent in Hong Kong Is Now in Jail or Exile’

Helen Davidson’s lede says it all, doesn’t it? More from the New York Times:

Dozens of pro-democracy figures who were rounded up and detained last month were arrested again on Sunday and charged with violating Hong Kong’s harsh new national security law, the latest blow to the dwindling hopes for democracy in the territory.

The 47 politicians and activists charged on Sunday are accused of breaking the security law by helping to organize an informal election primary last year for Hong Kong’s pro-democratic political camp. They were among 55 people arrested in a January sweep and released on bail while the police continued their investigation.

Before Sunday, only a handful of people had been formally charged with violating the security law, though about 100 have been arrested on suspicion of doing so. Those convicted of violating the law can be sentenced to life in prison.

Davidson reports on the mood amongst those arrested:

The phones rang on Friday, one month earlier than expected. More than 50 pro-democracy politicians and activists across Hong Kong received a call from the authorities: they were to report to police on Sunday.

Expecting to be charged and held for lengthy jail terms, many spent the weekend making last-minute preparations. They picked out books to take into custody, arranged for pets to be taken care of, said goodbye to their loved ones. Tiffany Yuen, 27, spent the day at home, where she was photographed cuddling a Buzz Lightyear toy, before visiting constituents in Tin Wan.

Books, pets, and Buzz Lightyear? Sounds like a dangerous bunch.

“When the police called, I knew it’s bad news,” said one, who spent most of the weekend quietly hugging his child. “I probably won’t be able to hold my kid for some years. I said: ‘You might not see daddy for several years. You have to be brave and look after mummy.’” […]

The judge barred the media from reporting on arguments made by either side at the bail hearing, during which the defendants made speeches that drove families and even journalists to tears.

Reminds me of the trial of Liu Xiaobo, whose final statement was cut short by the judge after just fourteen minutes. The truth is unbearable to those who cravenly suppress it.

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