Fri, 23 Apr 2021

Taipei [Taiwan], March 3 (ANI): Taiwanese students on Tuesday (local time) urged President Tsai Ing-wen's government to take concrete actions to protect Hong Kong political dissidents after 47 pro-democracy figures in the semi-autonomous region were charged last weekend under a new Chinese national security law.

In a press conference at the Legislative Yuan, representatives of the National Students' Union of Taiwan mentioned several steps the government could take to provide substantive assistance to those facing persecution, Focus Taiwan reported.

The group called on the Legislature to support a proposal by the Taiwan Association for Human Rights to amend Article 60 of the Laws and Regulations Regarding Hong Kong and Macao Affairs.

In its current form, Article 60 authorizes the president to suspend any portion of the law "should any change occur in the situation" in the two autonomous regions that endanger Taiwan's national security.

Hong Kong police have charged 47 former opposition lawmakers and activists for conspiring to 'subvert state power' under the draconian national security law in the region.

The law criminalises any act of secession (breaking away from China), subversion (undermining the power or authority of the central government), terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life imprisonment. It came into effect on July 1, 2020.

The lawmakers were charged on Sunday for their alleged roles in an unofficial primary run-off election that authorities linked to a plot to overthrow the government, according to South China Morning Post (SCMP).

SCMP reported that this is the biggest mass prosecution of opposition politicians and activists in Hong Kong under the national security law and the hearings can be dragged on for a second straight marathon session throughout Tuesday.

The charges, levelled on Sunday, marked one of the heaviest setbacks suffered by the opposition camp since the 1997 handover, with the Democratic Party and the Civic Party's leaders and veterans among those detained.

The age of those charged range from 23 to 64 and they were denied bail by the police.

Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai, Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, its vice-chairman Jeremy Tam Man-ho as well as activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung and People Power's Tam Tak-chi who are currently in jail, were among those charged under the security law.

The charges come as the repressive security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong has led to the arrest of several pro-democracy lawmakers. (ANI)

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