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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong jailed for 13-1/2 months for anti-government protest


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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong jailed for 13-1/2 months for anti-government protest

By Jessie Pang and Clare Jim

 

2020-12-02T074912Z_1_LYNXMPEGB10EJ_RTROPTP_4_HONGKONG-SECURITY.JPG

Pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow leave the Eastern Court after being released on bail over charged with unauthorised assembly near the police headquarters during anti-government protests in Hong Kong, China August 30, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

 

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Joshua Wong, 24, one of Hong Kong's most prominent democracy activists, was jailed on Wednesday for 13-1/2 months for his role in an unlawful anti-government rally in 2019, the toughest and most high-profile sentencing of an opposition figure this year.

 

Wong's sentence comes as critics say the Beijing-backed government is intensifying a crackdown on Hong Kong's opposition and wide-ranging freedoms guaranteed after the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, a charge authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong reject.

 

Wong had pleaded guilty to organising and inciting an unlawful assembly near the city police headquarters during the height of the sometimes violent demonstrations in June last year. He faced a maximum of three years in jail.

 

About 100 supporters gathered quietly inside the court ahead of the sentence, while a small group of pro-Beijing people rallied outside, calling for a hefty prison sentence.

 

"I know the coming days will be tougher. We will hang in there," Wong shouted after the sentence was read out.

 

"It’s not the end of the fight," Wong said later through his lawyer.

 

"Ahead of us is another challenging battleground. We're now joining the battle in prison along with many brave protesters, less visible yet essential in the fight for democracy and freedom for Hong Kong."

 

Wong's long-time colleagues Agnes Chow, 23, and Ivan Lam, 26, were jailed for a total of 10 and seven months, respectively, on charges linked to the same siege when thousands of protesters surrounded the police headquarters on June 21 to demand the government withdraw a now-shelved extradition bill.

 

Chow, who cried inside the court room on hearing her sentence, had pleaded guilty to incitement and participation in an unlawful protest, while Lam pleaded guilty to incitement.

 

Ahead of sentencing, the judge read a letter from Wong's mother to the court in which she said her son was "a young person who cares about society and is persistent in his ideals".

 

Under Hong Kong's handover agreement in 1997, Beijing promised to maintain the free-wheeling city's way of life for 50 years under a "one country, two systems" formula, although some fear 2047 is arriving early as authorities tighten their grip.

 

Rights groups were swift to condemn the court ruling.

 

"By targeting well-known activists from Hong Kong’s largely leaderless protest movement, authorities are sending a warning to anyone who dares openly criticize the government that they could be next," Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director Yamini Mishra said.

 

U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn accused China of cracking down on human rights and destroying "any semblance of autonomy in Hong Kong."

 

"Keep the faith, Joshua, you are truly an inspiration to freedom fighters everywhere," Blackburn said in a statement.

 

A familiar face at democracy protests since he was a teenager, Wong was less than a year old when Hong Kong returned to Beijing 23 years ago with a guarantee of freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, including freedom of speech and assembly.

 

Democracy activists say Beijing is rapidly chipping away at those freedoms, with the imposition of a national security law on June 30 seen as the latest blow to the city's liberties, which are crucial for its status as a global financial hub.

 

In recent months, the Hong Kong government has expelled opposition lawmakers from the legislature, disqualified pro-democracy candidates from running in a now-postponed election and arrested more than 30 people under the security legislation.

 

The expulsion of opposition lawmakers prompted democrats to resign en masse, leaving the legislature devoid of any opposition democrats for the first time since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-12-02
 
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its hard to deal with reality but reality is that Hong Kong is a part of China. Also many or most Hong Kong people do support peace and stability and not the disruptive protests. We never hear THEIR voice though in the western media. Like with most of these protests, so called "dem0cracy protests" in HK or BLM protests or just name any protests, often these peacefull righteous protesters smash in shops from OTHER people who hold a different opinion, threaten and harrass other ppl , thats what happened in HK. protesters threatening and attacking older people who are supportive of the new leadership. Basically these protesters are the next generation of Fidel Castros, at best, at worst they will be the Pol Pots of the future. They leave the Chinese leaders no other option than to arrest and jail them cuz ppl like that tasted blood in the water AND WILL NEVER STOP.

Anyway, i'll pop open a can of beer and celebrate the jailing of these agitators.

Edited by herwin1234
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4 hours ago, herwin1234 said:

its hard to deal with reality but reality is that Hong Kong is a part of China. Also many or most Hong Kong people do support peace and stability and not the disruptive protests. We never hear THEIR voice though in the western media. Like with most of these protests, so called "dem0cracy protests" in HK or BLM protests or just name any protests, often these peacefull righteous protesters smash in shops from OTHER people who hold a different opinion, threaten and harrass other ppl , thats what happened in HK. protesters threatening and attacking older people who are supportive of the new leadership. Basically these protesters are the next generation of Fidel Castros, at best, at worst they will be the Pol Pots of the future. They leave the Chinese leaders no other option than to arrest and jail them cuz ppl like that tasted blood in the water AND WILL NEVER STOP.

Anyway, i'll pop open a can of beer and celebrate the jailing of these agitators.

I think you fail to separate the type of protesters, which is wrong. We have HK protesters v western protesters. If what you say is true, you would not be able to enjoy the freedoms you have today. The protesters in HK showed us all how protesting should work - leaderless, start out calm and peaceful, then if the government doesn't listen, people may have to revert to the plundering of tea. Normal, everyday people do not have the money and power that those writing the laws have; thus, protesting is the best way for them to get heard. The blm protests and many other protests in the west, are like you state. Many of these individuals are just opportunists who want to break and plunder, but care little about the movement and they will find any excuse to justify their behavior. Protesting is needed in society as a way for the oppressed to make sure their voice is heard when the system fails them. You can easily enjoy your beer because you no longer have to worry about this today. Even if you have a king, he is way more accountable to you, then in the past when you had to be accountable to him. 

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1 minute ago, Selatan said:

For those who couldn't understand Cantonese, Hong Kong culture and have never visited the place, here's an article for you to read:

 

Hong Kong Riots Have Nothing to Do With Human Rights, Everything to Do With HK’s Superiority Complex
 


 

I've been to China and I've been to Honk Kong. I've lived and worked in both. The HKers may have a bit of that, but is that a good reason to submit to Beijing? I do not think so. Beijing is very oppressive. I would never live there again. You think HKers have a superiority complex, I say they tasted freedom and they want it to continue. Freedom should be a right, not a privilege and the CCP and those who support the CCP will never understand that. I say it's the CCP and especially Xi with the even bigger superiority complex, thinking the people would be nothing with them. The people will never know it was market reforms and a more open society that allowed China to become what it is today, not the other way around.

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4 minutes ago, curlylekan said:

I've been to China and I've been to Honk Kong. I've lived and worked in both. The HKers may have a bit of that, but is that a good reason to submit to Beijing? I do not think so. Beijing is very oppressive. I would never live there again. You think HKers have a superiority complex, I say they tasted freedom and they want it to continue. Freedom should be a right, not a privilege and the CCP and those who support the CCP will never understand that. I say it's the CCP and especially Xi with the even bigger superiority complex, thinking the people would be nothing with them. The people will never know it was market reforms and a more open society that allowed China to become what it is today, not the other way around.

If you have watched their TV dramas and movies like me for decades, you would know what kind a bunch of snobs they are. Freedom? You mean they have the right to riot and destroy public property when HK was under British rule?

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36 minutes ago, curlylekan said:

I've been to China and I've been to Honk Kong. I've lived and worked in both. The HKers may have a bit of that, but is that a good reason to submit to Beijing? I do not think so. Beijing is very oppressive. I would never live there again. You think HKers have a superiority complex, I say they tasted freedom and they want it to continue. Freedom should be a right, not a privilege and the CCP and those who support the CCP will never understand that. I say it's the CCP and especially Xi with the even bigger superiority complex, thinking the people would be nothing with them. The people will never know it was market reforms and a more open society that allowed China to become what it is today, not the other way around.

Hong Kong is a Chinese city. End of debate.

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