Beijing hits out at critics over Tong Ying-kit case

Beijing has hit out at foreign politicians for their criticism over the nine-year jail term given to Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be convicted of breaching the national security law in Hong Kong.

The sentence was handed down by three handpicked national security judges on Friday, who convicted Tong of terrorism and inciting secession for driving a motorbike into a group of police officers while flying a protest flag that read “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times” on July 1, 2020.

Nabila Massrali, the European Union’s spokesperson on foreign affairs and security, has since criticised the security law, saying it is being used to stifle political pluralism, the exercise of human rights and political freedoms in Hong Kong.

On Saturday, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here fired back, saying in a statement that such criticism slanders the security law and Hong Kong’s rule of law.

Its spokesperson said it’s only natural for the SAR’s judiciary to deal with criminals according to the law, and people should stop interfering with its handling of cases.

“Certain foreign forces are pitting the Hong Kong national security law and human rights and freedom as opposites, and they couldn’t wait to jump out and defend law-breaking criminals,” the statement read.

“These people claim to safeguard human rights and freedoms, but they disregard criminal acts that endanger people and public safety,” it said.

The office urged people to stop harming Hong Kong’s rule of law and judicial independence, as well as stop interfering in local and mainland affairs.

Speaking at an event, Chief Secretary John Lee also refuted foreign criticism.

He said Tong’s case has gone through an open trial where he was defended by lawyers, and the court has made its ruling based on facts and evidence – displaying Hong Kong’s rule of law.

The minister also accused foreign officials and politicians of putting politics before justice.