Hong Kong Fears for Its ‘Last’ Election

Hong Kong Fears for Its ‘Last’ Election
Clarisse Yeung, one of 47 pro-democracy advocates charged with “conspiracy to subvert state power,” speaks to the media after being released on bail at a court in Hong Kong, March 5, 2021 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR contributor Rachel Cheung and Assistant Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curate the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive China Note by email every week.

HONG KONG—By the time the marathon bail hearing of 47 pro-democracy advocates wrapped up at 3 a.m. last Tuesday in Hong Kong, one of the defendants, Clarisse Yeung, had collapsed in the dock, and four had been hospitalized for exhaustion. Several more were wheeled out of the courthouse in stretchers over the next few days as the proceedings dragged on until Thursday evening. Those who remained inside had no chance to shower or rest, and no clothes to change into—conditions unheard of in the city’s courts.

Outside the courthouse, police repeatedly attempted to disperse the crowd that had gathered under the rain. Supporters displayed banners calling for the release of the political prisoners, chanted familiar slogans that are now deemed illegal under the national security law that China imposed last year, and ran after the vehicles carrying the defendants back to prison as they sped away. In a further shock, a lawyer representing several of the defendants was arrested while trying to enter the courthouse.

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