UK foreign minister concerned by trial of Hong Kong fugitives in China

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Foreign Affairs Secretary Dominic Raab arrives at Downing Street, in London, Britain, November 26, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Monday he was deeply concerned over a trial of Hong Kong fugitives in mainland China, and he urged Beijing to ensure that its justice system was fair and transparent.

Ten people from Hong Kong appeared in a mainland Chinese court facing charges that include illegal border crossing after a boat they were travelling in was intercepted en route to the democratic island of Taiwan. Two more will face a separate hearing as they are minors.

“We are deeply concerned that members of the Shenzhen 12 were tried in secret today, having been given just three days’ notice of their trial,” Raab said, adding that British diplomats had been denied entry to the court.

“The Shenzhen 12 have not had access to lawyers of their choosing, raising further serious questions about access to legal counsel in Mainland China. We expect China to uphold the rule of law and conduct trials in a fair and transparent manner.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Gareth Jones