China lauds Hong Kong’s judicial system in “35-plus” defendants’ verdict, emphasizing openness and zero tolerance for subversion

China’s Ministry of State Security praised Hong Kong’s recent verdict on the “35-plus” defendants for demonstrating judicial transparency and fairness.

China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) has commended the recent verdict in Hong Kong’s high-profile case involving over 35 defendants, asserting that the outcome showcases the transparency, fairness, and justice of the city’s judicial system. On Tuesday, the MSS issued a statement highlighting the court’s judgement as a significant affirmation of Hong Kong’s steadfast zero-tolerance policy towards acts of subversion and threats to national security.

The case, widely known as the “35-plus” trial, centred on charges related to subversion under the controversial National Security Law, which was enacted in June 2020. The defendants, who included former lawmakers, activists, and pro-democracy advocates, were accused of participating in an unofficial primary election intended to elect candidates for the Legislative Council to obstruct government operations. The prosecution argued that this act constituted a coordinated effort to undermine state power and destabilize Hong Kong.

The court’s verdict, which resulted in several convictions, was met with varied reactions from the international community. Critics of the National Security Law argue that it stifles dissent and curtails freedoms in Hong Kong. However, the MSS lauded the judgment, underscoring it as a testament to the robustness of Hong Kong’s legal framework.

In its defence of the judicial process, the MSS pointed out that the verdict was reached after meticulous consideration of evidence and legal arguments, demonstrating that the judicial system in Hong Kong operates independently and without external interference. The MSS further noted that the outcome reaffirms Hong Kong’s unwavering commitment to upholding the rule of law and protecting national security.

The MSS’s endorsement of the verdict serves as a broader message to both domestic and international audiences. For domestic constituents, it reinforces the narrative that Hong Kong remains a region where legal processes are conducted fairly and transparently, in line with the principles of justice. For the international community, it attempts to counter criticisms that the National Security Law is being used to suppress political dissent and infringe on human rights. By commending the court’s decision, the MSS also sends a clear warning against any activities deemed subversive or threatening to state security.