The Hong Kong high court started the trial of NSL 47 this month. The former chairperson of the Hospital Authority Employee Alliance, Winnie Yu, and the former chairperson of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Carol Ng, were both charged with “Conspiracy to commit subversion” along with 45 other defendants for their participation in a primary poll held in 2020 to select opposition candidates for the Legislative Council election, and for conspiracy to subvert state power.
This is the highest-profile prosecution so far under the National Security Law. The charge of conspiracy to commit subversion carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, with a minimum term of ten years for serious offenders.
The primary election was held from 11 to 12 July 2020 and recorded a turnout of 590,000 electronic votes and 20,000 paper votes. Of the 74 candidates running for election, 31 won, including Winnie Yu and Carol Ng. The other eight defendants lost in the primary.
The prosecution’s opening stated that Winnie Yu and the remaining 15 defendants conspired in Hong Kong and conspired with others to subvert state power by forcing the HKSAR government to dissolve the Legislative Council by indiscriminately vetoing the government’s budget or public expenditure. It eventually led to the resignation of the chief executive, and the purpose was to subvert state power. The prosecution also claimed that Winnie Yu and Carol Ng had signed a joint statement promising to abide by the result of the primary poll.
Winnie Yu contesting the charges
Winnie Yu Wai-Ming and 15 other defendants are described as a “localist resistance camp” by the prosecution because they continued to support and participate in the unofficial primary poll, even after being warned by the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government and an HKSAR government official in July 2020 that participation in the primary poll is against the National Security Law.
The prosecution also stated that Winnie Yu illustrated the importance of “mutually destroying” Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and organising city-wide strikes to achieve a shutdown in an article. The prosecution also quoted her media interview in April 2020, where she shared the lesson she learnt from the previous health worker strike she organised: that change could only be achieved when the people overthrow the current government using all means. The prosecution also said that police later found a document with the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Time” written on it. This slogan was banned in Hong Kong after the National Security Law was enacted in Hong Kong.
Carol Ng observed the trial in court
Carol Ng and the remaining 30 defendants intend to plead guilty in this politically engineered trial. Although Carol Ng is not required to attend the trial, she remains in court today to observe the progress of the trial. The court will pass her sentence after this trial.