Hong Kong democracy activists charged


Hong Kong democracy activists charged

By Eva Cheng

Four activists who led a demonstration in Hong Kong on July 1 in pressing for democratic reforms were served subpoenas on November 19 for a trial on December 21 on the charge of "breach of the peace".

The western media widely reported on their arrests, and of 16 more activists, who sought to press their point on the first anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.

They were released, not charged, after an unusually long delay of nearly five months, when the media's attention to Hong Kong had "cooled down". The pre-Christmas trial also seems calculated to minimise their attention.

The role of Leung Kwok-hung, Lau San-ching, Ku Sze-yiu and Tsang Kin-shing in pro-democracy street protests seems to be the reason they were targeted.

Tsang is an ex-legislator and a member of the Democratic Party. Leung and Lau were particular annoyances for Beijing because of their long involvement in democracy campaigning and their bold and persistent challenge to its undemocratic rule — in China and now also in Hong Kong.

Leung, a leader of April 5th Action (an organisation campaigning for the democratisation of China), consistently led some of the most militant confrontations with the Hong Kong police and Beijing throughout the last 20 years. Lau spent 1981-1991 in Chinese jails for supporting the democracy activists in mainland China.

Watched by the world media on July 1, 1997, the Hong Kong police opted not to ban the pro-democracy protests on that day, but drowned out their chants with music at deafening volume. Leung and Lau, who took part in those protests, lodged a formal complaint against the Hong Kong police over the music farce. Worldwide reports of their complaint greatly embarrassed the police.