On Thursday, a kangaroo Hong Kong court convicted seven pro-democracy activists for their roles in an “unauthorized” 2019 protest. It’s just the latest proof that the mainland government is committed to tyranny — and that the West was mistaken in thinking that welcoming China into the world economy would mellow the regime.
Media tycoon Jimmy Lai, “Hong Kong’s father of democracy” Martin Lee, and former lawmakers Margaret Ng, Cyd Ho Sau-lan, Lee Cheuk-yan, Albert Ho Chun-yan and Leung Kwok-hung, known as “Long Hair,” face up to five years for organizing and joining the peaceful protest against police orders. Several are old enough that this may mean prison for the rest of their lives.
Lai’s lawyer noted in court that any police power to ban peaceful protests violates Hong Kongers’ right to freedom of assembly. But the puppet judges echoed Beijing’s contempt for the rights China’s rulers once pledged to respect.
Oh, Beijing this week also rewrote the rules for Hong Kong’s legislature, turning it into a rubber stamp.
Then-President Bill Clinton insisted in the late ’90s that letting China into the World Trade Organization would “have a profound impact on human rights and liberty.” With Beijing breaking its word on Hong Kong and engaged in genocide of its Uighur minority, that optimism stands exposed as utter foolishness.