A prominent pro-democracy leader is already in jail and has also been charged under national security law.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong will face ten more months in prison for attending an unauthorized assembly on June 4 last year to commemorate the brutal 1989 crackdown on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. .
Wong, 24, who was already in jail over other illegal convictions for meetings and among 47 activists charged under the city’s garbage safety law, was sentenced Thursday in court to district.
A 15-month sentence was reduced to 10 due to his conviction for attending the vigil. He will have to serve his sentence consecutively, rather than simultaneously.
Last year was the first time the June 4 vigil was banned in the territory, and police cited coronavirus restrictions at group meetings, as they did at all demonstrations last year.
Still, tens of thousands of people defied the restrictions and lit candles across the city in what was largely a peaceful event, except for a brief skirmish with riot police in a district.
#BREAK #HongKong Activist Joshua Wong has been jailed for ten months for taking part in the June 4 banned vigil to commemorate 1989 #TiananmenSquareMassacre last year, consecutively for up to four months, is serving in another case related to the protest pic.twitter.com/m0XYtn39tt
– Damon Pang (@damon_pang) May 6, 2021
Commemorations of the Tiananmen Repression are banned in mainland China, but Hong Kong traditionally held the largest vigils in the world each year, as it had been promised certain freedoms when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997, including ‘expression and meeting.
Judge Stanley Chan also sentenced Lester Shum, Jannelle Leung and Tiffany Yuen to between four and six months. Twenty other people facing similar charges on June 4 in Tiananmen Square are due to appear in court on June 11.
“Freedom of assembly is not unlimited,” Chan said.
“The sentence should deter people from offending and reoffending in the future.”
‘Regarding the match’
The anniversary caused a particularly sensitive nerve in the former British colony last year, and fell just as Beijing was preparing to introduce new security legislation that would punish everything China sees as subversion, secession, terrorism. or collusion with foreign forces in prison for life.
The Tiananmen Square birthday event on June 4 this year is particularly uncomfortable for Beijing, which is celebrating the centenary of the Communist Party, and is also expected to be banned.
When asked if the commemoration of the Tiananmen victims would violate the new security law, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said last month that it was important to show respect for the party.
China has never provided a full account of what happened in 1989. The death toll given by officials was about 300, mostly soldiers, but advocacy groups and witnesses say thousands may have died.
Wong was sentenced to 13-1 / 2 months in December in connection with an illegal anti-government rally on June 21, 2019 and an additional four months to participate in an unauthorized protest in October. of 2019, while also violating a government law against with face masks.
While in prison, Wong was also arrested in January on suspicion of violating the new security law, which was introduced in July 2020, by participating in an unofficial vote to choose opposition candidates for a few years. elections postponed since then, which the authorities describe as “vicious”. conspiracy ”to“ overthrow ”the government.
The charge related to the new security law carries the harshest life sentence.