World, Asia - Pacific

Hong Kong jails 4 activists, councilors

They were charged with 'illegally' gathering on July 4 last year to commemorate 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square in Beijing

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 06.05.2021
Hong Kong jails 4 activists, councilors


Four activists in Hong Kong were sentenced to jail for participating in a July 4 candlelight vigil last year to commemorate the 1989 Beijing massacre, which the local authorities deemed illegal.

Hong Kong District Court judge Stanley Chan pronounced the sentences against activist Joshua Wong and district councilors Lester Shum, Tiffany Yuen, and Jannelle Leung for taking part in the vigil, state-run RTHK News reported.

After pleading guilty, Wong received 10 months behind bars, Shum six months and the two women four months.

The charges were brought against a gathering at Victoria Park last year to commemorate the victims of the Tiananmen massacre in Beijing in 1989. Chan observed there had been a “potential risk of violence breaking out at the event.”

The case also involves 22 other activists. They are scheduled to appear in court next month. Nathan Law and Sunny Cheung, two of them, have fled Hong Kong.

For the first time ever, authorities refused to grant permission for the annual candlelight vigil, citing the pandemic.

Chan said the four accused were “political figures” who uploaded photos on social media “showing they were taking part” dismissing arguments that the defendants “only played a passive role in the vigil.”

Last month, Wong was sentenced to jail for four months another unauthorized assembly on October 5, 2019.

The court ruled that Wong’s new prison sentence will be served after the four-month term comes to an end.

Wong, Shum, and Yuen are also accused of breaching the national security law by holding primary polls to select Legco candidates, and they were already behind bars awaiting trial.

Hong Kong was rocked by anti-government protests in 2019 in response to the now-banned extradition bill. As a result, Beijing enacted a contentious national security law in July of last year, which drew widespread criticism.

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