Hong Kong democracy campaigners jailed over anti-China protests
Hong Kong, August 17 (IANS): Three pro-democracy Hong Kong student leaders were jailed on Thursday for their roles in a protest at the start of a 79-day anti-government occupation known as the umbrella movement, the media reported.
Alex Chow, 26, Nathan Law, 24, and Joshua Wong, the 20-year-old bespectacled student dubbed Hong Kong’s “face of protest”, were sentenced by the Court of Appeals to between six and eight months’ imprisonment each, reports the Guardian.
The three had avoided jail a year ago after being convicted of taking part in or inciting an “illegal assembly” that helped spark the umbrella protests in September 2014.
But this month, Hong Kong’s Department of Justice called for those sentences to be reconsidered, with one senior prosecutor attacking the “rather dangerous” leniency he claimed had been shown to the activists.
“See you soon,” Wong tweeted shortly after the verdict was announced.
“Imprisoning us will not extinguish Hongkonger’s desire for universal suffrage. We are stronger, more determined, and we will win. “You can lock up our bodies, but not our minds! We want democracy in Hong Kong. And we will not give up,” Wong said in a series of tweets.
The decision to increase the activists’ punishments has sparked widespread outrage, the Guardian reported.
“It smacks of political imprisonment, plain and simple,” said Jason Ng, the author of Umbrellas in Bloom, a book about Hong Kong’s youth protest movement.
There was also criticism from the United States where Republican senator Marco Rubio attacked the decision as “shameful and further evidence that Hong Kong’s cherished autonomy is precipitously eroding”.