The recent conviction of pro-democracy protester Ma Chun-man for inciting secession under Hong Kong’s draconian new National Security Law marks a major step backward for free expression in Hong Kong.
Eric Yan-ho Lai is the Hong Kong Law Fellow of the Georgetown Center for Asian Law. He is also a doctoral candidate at SOAS University of London, and received master's degree in political sociology at London School of Economics and Political Science. He studies law and politics in Hong Kong, law and social movement, electoral integrity and authoritarianism. Lai has lectured on comparative politics, international human rights law, NGO advocacy and management at different universities in Hong Kong.
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The right to a fair trial for National Security Law defendants is under threat. As the first NSL trials begin, it remains to be seen whether rule of law in Hong Kong will survive.
One case case may mark an ominous turning point for human rights and rule of law in Hong Kong.