UN human rights commissioner shocked by NSL sentencing of minor


Seven members of the group ‘Returning Valiant’, aged 16 to 26, have been charged with ‘conspiracy to incite the subversion of state power’ under the National Security Act (NSL) of Hong Kong for organizing street kiosks and posting on social media. They had all pleaded guilty earlier and this is the first time ever that minors under the age of 21 have been convicted under the current NSL.

Ravina Shamdasani, the spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said she was shocked by the prison sentence.

On October 8, Kwok Wai-kin, a judge appointed to adjudicate national security cases, ruled that the five defendants under the age of 21 would be held in a correctional facility, while the sentences of the other two were adjourned. According to the case, the seven defendants repeatedly held street stalls, spoke in interviews and live broadcasts, advocating an “armed uprising” to overthrow the government and providing financial aid to protesters.

Ms Shamdasani said that although the UN Human Rights Commissioner had clearly recommended that the Hong Kong government repeal the NSL in July this year, the Human Rights Commissioner regretted that the NSL Act is still running in Hong Kong to this day. Now it even targets young people, including minors. She wishes to remind the Hong Kong government that the administration of justice and law enforcement in Hong Kong must be consistent with its obligations under international human rights law.

Hong Kong government response

On October 13, the Hong Kong government issued a statement in response, expressing deep dissatisfaction with Shamdasani’s remarks. He pointed out that since the legal process of the case has not been fully completed, he considers the other side’s comments on the case at this time to be inappropriate.

On the contrary, the statement further asserted that the “national security law” was designed to allow Hong Kong residents to “regain” the rights and freedoms they lost during the anti-extradition movement from June 2019 to early 2020. The “National Security Law” is to “achieve its objectives, speedily and peacefully, and at the same time effectively restore stability and security.”

Researcher: The Hong Kong government has failed to ‘tell the right Hong Kong story’

Dr Chung Kim-wah pointed out that whenever foreign media criticized Hong Kong, government officials would send letters to refute the comments. For example, he has always maintained that Hong Kong people are guaranteed all rights under the Basic Law, so the National Security Law will not violate human rights, and similarly, all countries in the world are also adopting national security laws for themselves. All of these responses from the Hong Kong government simply reflect its “wolf warrior mentality” which is meant to be seen by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). At the same time, in doing so, the government thinks that if it sends these vicious letters or statements a few more times, others will shut up for fear of getting into trouble.

Chung described all of these government responses as just repeating the same rhetoric over and over again, with no new ideas. “Everyone is well aware that the Hong Kong government continues to violate human rights and deprive people of freedom. This simple fact is clearly visible to everyone, so no one will care too much about all the rebuttals from the government. Furthermore, he also believes that the government will never be able to “tell the right story of Hong Kong” because its success depends more on “doing it well” than “telling it well”. The international community is fully aware of the objective reality that is happening daily in Hong Kong.

UN human rights commissioner calls for repeal of NSL

On July 27 this year (2022), the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights released a review report on the Hong Kong government’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, criticizing the arrest of citizens, the dissolution of unions and student associations since the implementation of the NSL in 2020. The commissioner urged the Hong Kong government to repeal the national security law accordingly.

The commissioner is deeply concerned that the national security law was passed by the CCP without consultation with the Hong Kong public, pointing out that the law itself is flawed. The concept of “national security” in its context also lacks a clear definition, and relevant laws are interpreted too broadly. Therefore, there is the possibility of cases being transferred from Hong Kong to mainland China, which is not a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, for investigation, prosecution, trial and application of sanctions.

In conclusion, the Commissioner urges the Hong Kong government to repeal the National Security Law, to refrain from any action that might restrict freedom of association and to ensure that members of civil society do not not be prosecuted for participating in the deliberations of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Committee. The report also criticized the police for their excessive use of force during the 2019 anti-extradition movement, and the Hong Kong government’s characterization of all such protests as violent. He urged the Hong Kong government to set up a fully independent police complaints mechanism and called for the withdrawal of charges against unlawful assemblies, as well as the amendment of the Ordinance on public order.


Chan Lam



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