HONG KONG — 9 Hong Kong pro-democracy activists had been sentenced to between six and 10 months in jail on Wednesday for collaborating in an unauthorized meeting ultimately 12 months’s vigil for the victims of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Sq. crackdown on protesters.
The previous British colony, which returned to Chinese language rule in 1997 with the promise of wide-ranging freedoms, historically holds the most important June 4 vigil on this planet.
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However the final two vigils had been banned by police citing coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings. However coming after the mass pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2019, the ban was seen by many activists as an try to shut down any show of defiance towards Beijing. Hong Kong authorities denied that was the explanation.
Regardless of the ban, hundreds turned as much as mild candles throughout town in 2020, and smaller crowds did the identical in 2021.
“The defendants ignored and belittled a real public well being disaster,” District Courtroom Choose Amanda Woodcock mentioned.
“They wrongly and arrogantly believed their frequent goal was extra vital than defending the group or the general public’s proper to safety from a critical well being threat.”
Three different activists acquired suspended sentences.
All 12 had pleaded responsible, together with veteran vigil organizer Albert Ho, former lawmaker Eddie Chu and Figo Chan, a former chief of the Civil Human Rights Entrance identified for organizing large-scale pro-democracy rallies.
Final week, police arrested members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Assist of Patriotic Democratic Actions of China, the organizer of the vigils, below nationwide safety laws imposed by Beijing final 12 months. Police accused the Alliance of being an “agent of overseas forces,” which the Alliance denies.
Alliance leaders Albert Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan and Chow Cling Tung had been charged final week with inciting subversion. Ho and Lee are already in jail over their position within the protests in 2019. Chow was denied bail.
Police final week additionally raided the premises of the closed June 4th museum devoted to the Tiananmen victims.
The museum, which closed on June 2 due to an investigation by the Meals and Environmental Hygiene Division into its licensing, reopened on-line as “8964 Museum” and now operates independently from the Alliance.