activist Joshua Wong sentenced to 13 months in prison ~ #AFP:

Joshua Wong, one of Hong Kong’s best-known protest figures, and two other famous activists were sentenced to jail on Wednesday for their role in last year’s protests.

Mr. Wong, 24, was sentenced to 13 and a half months in prison. His comrades Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam were sentenced to ten and seven months respectively for demonstrating in front of the Hong Kong police headquarters.

“This is not the end of the fight,” could one read on Mr. Wong’s Twitter account, a few minutes after the court ruling.

“We are now joining the struggle in prison alongside many courageous protesters, less visible but essential in the fight for democracy and freedom in Hong Kong,” he said.

At the trial on November 23, Mr. Wong and the two other dissidents, both 26, pleaded guilty.

“The defendants called on the demonstrators to besiege the headquarters (of the Hong Kong police) and chanted slogans hostile to the police,” said magistrate Wong Sze-lai.

“Immediate detention is the most appropriate option,” she said.

Ms. Chow burst into tears at the wording of her sentence. She has never been in prison, unlike Mr. Wong, who started activating when he was 13, and Mr. Lam.

For Nathan Law, another famous young activist who was detained before fleeing in July for London, imprisonment will not lessen them.

“I believe they will continue to be very important to Hong Kong in the future,” he told AFP.

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab on Twitter called on “authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing to end their campaign to stifle opposition.”

Amnesty International has criticized these sentences, arguing that they criminalize political opinions.

David vs. Goliath

The pro-Beijing government in Hong Kong responded by stressing that the three activists had pleaded guilty and that even if the former British colony respected freedom of expression, “this freedom was not absolute”.

All three are figures of the political struggle in a fight that is often compared to that of David against Goliath, a small territory of almost 7.5 million people against the most populous country in the world with 1.39 billion d ‘inhabitants.

It was teenagers that the two boys and the girl took part in the pro-democracy movement, starting in 2012 in the battle – won – against the introduction of courses in Chinese patriotism.

Two years later, they had played a leading role in the “Umbrella Movement”, which demanded genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong, without obtaining any concession from Beijing.

Protesters had occupied the center of town for 79 days, earning some jail terms.

In June 2019, a new protest movement born of a widely criticized bill authorizing extraditions to China, was born. Without a real leader, he was marked by seven months of almost daily demonstrations.

Mr. Wong and Ms. Chow took part in some protests but mostly used their notoriety to push for international sanctions, sparking anger in Beijing, the Chinese media not hesitating to call them traitors.

A handful of Hong Kong government supporters drank sparkling wine in court on Wednesday after the convictions were announced.

People who came to support the three young convicts shouted slogans in favor of democracy as the prison vans passed.

Almost all demonstrations have been banned since the start of the year by the Hong Kong authorities.

More than 10,000 people have been arrested in the past 18 months and most of the main opposition figures are facing prosecution.

At the end of June, Beijing imposed a draconian national security law, which prohibits the expression of certain political opinions.


Source: VOA-AFP.


About AFP - Agence France Presse.

AGENCE PRANCE-PRESSE (AFP): is an international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Agence Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency. AFP has regional headquarters in Nicosia, Montevideo, Hong Kong, and Washington, D.C., and news bureaux in 151 countries in 201 locations.

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