The Hong Kong government has told the US in a statement on Sunday that it “regrets” that the US has “expressed concern” over the ongoing court cases of student activists Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and Alex Chow.

The three were participants in the pro-democracy Occupy Movement in 2014.

Occupy student leaders.
Occupy student leaders Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and Alex Chow. File photo: Facebook.

US’s Congressional-Executive Commission on China released a statement on Friday which quoted Congressman Chris Smith, who said: “[Joshua Wong’s] trial appears to be nothing more than political muscle flexing, targeting those who dared to stand up for freedom and democracy, and it continues a very disturbing trend. Beijing’s expanded influence and reach in Hong Kong are undermining the future of the “one country, two systems” model.”

“Instead of putting Joshua Wong on trial, the Hong Kong government should be promoting and consulting him, and his fellow student activists, as the best hope for Hong Kong’s future,” Smith said.

The commission also quoted Senator Marco Rubio, who said: “We will be watching closely how it is handled. He and his fellow students represent the future of Hong Kong, not Beijing’s tired tactics of repression and intimidation.”

The Hong Kong government responded in a statement saying that “it is inappropriate for the Commission to make any open comment on cases that are subject of pending legal proceedings.”

“Prosecution and trial in Hong Kong are entirely affairs of the SAR and no foreign governments should intervene.” It asked the commission to “respect the legal and judicial system as well as the judicial independence of the Hong Kong SAR,” it said.

It also added that “Any arrests and prosecutions are conducted according to the laws of Hong Kong and those being prosecuted will be tried by the court in an independent, fair and open manner… there is no question of political prosecution whatsoever.”

The court hearing for Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow began on Monday. They are charged with two counts of inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly and two counts participating in an unlawful assembly.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.