HONG KONG - Last week, a Hong Kong magistrate lifted restrictions on the media for reporting on the pre-trial proceedings of the case involving 47 prominent elected legislators and activists charged under the abusive National Security Law, reports Human Rights Watch.

The accused helped organize or ran as candidates in a July 2020 informal public opinion poll to coordinate pro-democracy candidates for a legislative election, and five of the defendants have now been named as “major organizers,” suggesting harsh sentences, up to life in prison.

They have been denied the right to a jury trial or a bail under the National Security Law.

This law is central to Beijing’s assault on Hong Kong people’s freedoms and relentless efforts to smother Hong Kong’s democracy movement.