China jails activist for 2nd time over 2014 pro-democracy protests

Chelsea West
January 19, 2018

He and other leaders of the protests are appealing their sentences in a separate case.

Judge Andrew Chan described Wong's involvement in obstructing the clearance in 2014 as "deep and extensive" in his written judgement.

"The sentences will have a chilling effect particularly on young people who want to play a more active role in ushering in real democracy in Hong Kong", says Willie Lam, Adjunct Professor of China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. "In view of his overall involvement, I am of the view that the only appropriate punishment for Mr. Wong will be one of immediate imprisonment".

Chan denied both bail but defence lawyers pushed for him to reconsider his decision and were granted a further hearing yesterday afternoon.

"Our determination to fight for democracy will not change!"

Hong Kong's High Court on Wednesday jailed Joshua Wong for contempt after he pleaded guilty to flouting a 2014 court order to leave a protest camp that blocked a main road.

Several others involved in the 2014 demonstrations received suspended sentences, according to the South China Morning Post, with the sentences ranging in length from one to two months.

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Some 100 key activists face upcoming trials and possible jail terms.

Freedom of speech and demonstration is protected by the city's mini-constitution, the Basic Law.

"They can lock up our bodies but they can't lock up our minds", the 21-year-old said as he entered the hearing. Umbrellas became a symbol of defiance after protesters used them as shields against police pepper spray and batons. They displayed a banner calling the activists "mobsters" and saying they must "pay the price" in jail.

Campaigners fear that these cases against activists and jail terms given to democracy leaders would discourage young people from expressing their views and exercising their right to peaceful protest.

Hong Kong has been governed by a "one country, two systems" agreement since 1997 when Britain handed the territory back to China.

Wong, who was just 18 in 2014, is now seeking to overturn a six-month sentence for a separate protest action.

Wednesday's sentencing came after the High Court heard earlier that the activists remained in an "occupied" zone in Mong Kok on November 26, 2014 even after bailiffs announced the court injunction to the protesters and tried to clear the street with police assistance.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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