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Hong Kong’s Joshua Wong, other pro-democracy activists jailed

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Ivan Lam and Joshua Wong before their sentencing in court Wednesday.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Ivan Lam, left, and Joshua Wong before their sentencing in court Wednesday.
(Kin Cheung / Associated Press)

Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam were sentenced to jail Wednesday on charges related to an unauthorized anti-government protest last year at the city’s police headquarters.

Wong, who pleaded guilty to organizing and participating in the protest, received a sentence of slightly more than a year. Chow, who also pleaded guilty to participating in the protest and inciting others to take part, received 10 months, while Lam received seven months after pleading guilty to incitement.

The June 21, 2019, demonstration saw thousands surround Hong Kong’s police headquarters to protest excessive force by police and a now-withdrawn bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China.

The three sentenced Wednesday were members of the now-defunct political group Demosisto. It is the first time that Chow, 23, has been given a jail sentence. Wong, 24, and Lam, 26, have previously been jailed over charges related to their activism.

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Their sentences come as Beijing tightens control over the semi-autonomous city following months of anti-government protests last year, which occasionally saw violent clashes between protesters and police.

Between June 2019 and October this year, more than 10,000 people have been arrested on protest-related charges. In June, Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong to crack down on dissent, and outspoken pro-democracy advocates such as media tycoon Jimmy Lai have been arrested.

The mass resignation came after Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing government ousted four pro-democracy lawmakers from the city’s Legislative Council.

The jailing of Wong, Chow and Lam drew rebuke from Amnesty International, which said the three “must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

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“Once again, the government has used the politically motivated charge of ‘inciting others to protest’ to prosecute people who have merely spoken out and protested peacefully,” said the group’s Asia-Pacific regional director, Yamini Mishra.

“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.”


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