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Landmark Hong Kong security trial begins

STORY: The trial has begun for 16 democracy activists in Hong Kong, now two years after they were arrested under the changes to China's national security laws that triggered large and sometimes violent protests in the city.

This is Chan Po-ying, the wife of one of the defendants. She is also the chair of the League of Social Democrats.

The defendants are accused of conspiracy to commit subversion, for participating in an unofficial political primary election for the city assembly, the Legislative Council. They may face life in prison.

"For the League of Social Democrats and many Hong Kong people, it would never have occurred to them that participating in the primaries and participating in the Legislative Council in a peaceful manner would be considered illegal."

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"We think this is political repression."

Chan's husband is former lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, also known as "Long Hair," seen here.

He and the 15 other defendants are the ones who pleaded not guilty out of 47 arrested in a dawn raid in January 2021. Thirteen were released on bail but the others have remained in custody pending trial.

Prosecutors say the unofficial political primary was part of a "vicious plot" to subvert the local government and bring what they called "mutual destruction" to it, by taking control of the assembly.

Four of the 47 arrested will testify against the 16 now on trial.

It's expected to last 90 days.