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Verdict in HK offender's trial shows rule of law, justice

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-08-03 08:42
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The guilty verdict in the first trial under the national security law in Hong Kong has not only sent a clear signal that anyone violating the law shall be punished, but also drawn red lines against "Hong Kong independence."

The first person charged and convicted under the law -- 24-year-old Tong Ying-kit -- was sentenced to nine years in jail last Friday by the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) after being found guilty of inciting others to commit secession and engaging in terrorist activities.

This verdict manifests the rule of law and justice, showing that the authority of the law is above any challenge, the red line of safeguarding national sovereignty and security must not be crossed, and Hong Kong's prosperity and stability must not be undermined.

Some officials in the United States and EU who repeatedly smeared the national security law since its enactment and made irresponsible remarks on the conviction and sentencing of Tong, should respect the rule of law and refrain from making any attempt to influence Hong Kong courts in exercising their independent judicial power, as the spokesman of the HKSAR government said.

Such contemptuous behaviour is detrimental to bilateral or multilateral relations with the HKSAR on a wide range of subjects of mutual concern and benefits.

Tong rode a motorcycle with a flag bearing a "Hong Kong independence" slogan into cops at police lines in Wan Chai on July 1, 2020, leading to three officers getting injured.

Judges said Tong intended to incite secession by displaying the flag and his storming of police lines challenged the rule of law, endangered public security and was intended at achieving political results by threatening the public.

Under Hong Kong's open and transparent judicial system, everyone has access to the facts of the case and the court's considerations in determining the sentence, which have been clearly set out in written judgements.

The national security law in Hong Kong clearly stipulates four types of offenses endangering national security and the penalties, and law-abiding people will not unwittingly fall foul of the law. However, it is indisputable that every country has the right to safeguard national security and act resolutely against offenses.

Hong Kong prides itself on the rule of law, and its robust legal system premised on common law and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, are cornerstones of the SAR's success and have been well recognized around the world.

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