Published: Fri, August 18, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Hong Kong: Umbrella Movement leader 'mentally prepared' for jailtime

Hong Kong: Umbrella Movement leader 'mentally prepared' for jailtime

"See you soon", the 20-year-old protest leader tweeted after he and two friends, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, were jailed for their role in launching 2014's umbrella movement, a historic 79-day occupation that drew hundreds of thousands of young people out on to the streets.

Wong, 20, was on Thursday (Aug 17) sentenced alongside former Umbrella Movement leaders Alex Chow and Nathan Law who were jailed seven months and eight months respectively.

"I think this is a three-way collaboration between Carrie Lam's government, the government in Beijing and the court to send a clear message to protesters in Hong Kong", Shum said.

The Umbrella trio were found guilty a year ago on unlawful assembly charges for storming a fenced-off government forecourt known as "Civic Square" as part of a protest calling for fully free leadership elections in September 2014.

Suzanne Pepper, a Hong Kong-based scholar of Chinese politics, said the new sentences were "part of a larger pushback by Beijing against Hong Kong's democracy movement".

"It is the darkest era of the Hong Kong democratic movement", Wong said.

Law, who had been Hong Kong's youngest ever directly elected politician, before he was removed from office earlier this year over the manner in which he took his oath, appealed to their supporters to continue the campaign.

It has also delivered a body blow to Hong Kong's wider democracy movement, already reeling from the disqualification of four its lawmakers from parliament and the growing sense that the global community has abandoned it for fear of upsetting Beijing.

"Imprisoning us will not extinguish Hongkonger's desire for universal suffrage", Mr Wong wrote on his Twitter account following the decision.

The jail sentences mark the climax in a sustained effort by the Hong Kong government since the end of the Occupy protests to punish political activists.

Joshua Wong Nathan Law and Alex Chow were sentenced to six months eight months and seven months jail respectively in Hong Kong Thursday
Hong Kong: Umbrella Movement leader 'mentally prepared' for jailtime

The trio had previously been given community service sentences for an unlawful assembly conviction relating to a protest at Hong Kong's government headquarters.

The authorities appealed, resulting in Thursday's prison sentences. I want to see Hong Kong people not giving up.

In 2014, the activists brought major thoroughfares to a standstill for 11 weeks to protest Beijing's plan to restrict elections in the Chinese-ruled former British colony.

In the court, enraged supporters chanted "Shame of the Department of Justice" and "Release the three of them". Anyone sentenced to at least three months in prison can't stand for public office for five years.

In some sense, Richardson said, "these three young men's commitment, even in the face of persecution, to carry on their pro-democracy work and studies" is cause for hope and inspiration.

"When you look throughout history at people who have become iconic figures, they've often done so because of spending periods of time in prison", he said.

However, Amnesty International slammed authorities' pursuit of jail terms as a "vindictive attack on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly".

The three activists were then convicted for unlawful assembly in an incident which insight mass protests in Hong Kong.

The pro-democracy trio said in a statement they would lodge an appeal before the Court of Final Appeal.

He called on the Senate to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would allow the freeze assets and bar entry to those deemed responsible for "suppressing basic freedoms" in the city.

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