A group of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, who had earlier tried to escape the city-state by speedboat and seek refuge in Taiwan, started facing their trial on Monday as the United States described the situation to be a case of dissidents fleeing ‘tyranny’, AFP reported.
Out of the renowned ‘Hong Kong 12’, 10 faced their trials in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, with charges of an illegal border crossing brought against them.
After the failed attempt at escaping, Chinese authorities took the group into custody on August 23.
According to AFP, the hearing began as per schedule on Monday afternoon, and ended in the evening.
Reportedly, at least two from the group will be facing around seven years of jail sentence for arranging the escape, as well as several others already facing charges in Hong Kong, where by the way of the national security law, China has repeatedly attempted to curb the city’s pro-democracy protests which took on a massive size last year, marching against Beijing’s rule.
"Their so-called 'crime' was to flee tyranny," AFP quoted a spokesperson from the US embassy as saying.
Urging an immediate release for those apprehended, the spokesperson further said that the Communist country will stop at nothing in order to prevent their citizens from seeking a free life elsewhere.
Warning that Washington should "immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs through the Hong Kong issue and immediately stop interfering in China's judicial sovereignty,", Chinese spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian, went into a familiar attacking mode over the comments from the US, as the latter continues to use the Hong Kong issue as a diplomatic weapon against the Communist nation for some time now.