University Student’s Sedition Trial Begins in Hong Kong

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A harbor view of Hong Kong

HONG KONG — The trial of a 23-year-old female university student charged with sedition over social media postings allegedly calling for Hong Kong independence got underway Friday at a local court.

The woman was charged for violating Hong Kong’s local ordinance on crimes.

Defense lawyers for the accused cast doubts over whether the Hong Kong ordinance could be applied in her case, saying most of her online postings were made outside Hong Kong.

The student was arrested in March when she temporarily returned to Hong Kong from Japan, where she is enrolled at a university, on suspicion of sedition with regard to Hong Kong’s independence in violation of the law on safeguarding national security.

The Hong Kong authorities decided Thursday not to indict her under the national security law, thus ruling out the possibility of the maximum sentence of life in prison. Instead, the authorities indicted her on suspicion of violating the Hong Kong ordinance, under which first-time violators can be confined for up to two years.