Hong Kong: prison sentences for nine activists who participated in vigils for Tiananmen

Nine figures of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement were sentenced, Wednesday, September 15, to terms ranging from six to ten months in prison for having participated last year in a vigil in memory of the repression of Tiananmen banned by the police. Three other people were given suspended sentences for participating in an illegal gathering or for inciting others to participate.

This conviction comes a week after the indictment of the three main officials of the organizing association of this vigil for “Incitement to subversion”.

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China prints its authoritarian mark

For three decades, the Hong Kong Alliance organization gathered tens of thousands of people in a park on June 4 for a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims of the 1989 repression in Tiananmen, with slogans calling for democracy in China. This is the second year that these vigils have been banned, with authorities citing the Covid-19 pandemic and security threats.

China is making its authoritarian mark on Hong Kong after the huge and often violent pro-democracy protests of 2019. Dozens of pro-democracy figures have been arrested.

On Wednesday, Albert Ho, the former vice-president of Alliance Hong Kong, was sentenced to ten months in detention for inciting subversion and six months for having taken part in the vigil. He will serve these sentences at the same time as the eighteen months he received in other cases.

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Twenty-six militants targeted

In total, twenty-six activists are targeted for having taken part in the vigil in 2020. Two of them, Nathan Law and Sunny Cheung, fled the city to go into exile abroad before the group’s first summons to the court in September 2020.

Joshua Wong, Lester Shum, Tiffany Yuen and Janelle Leung were sentenced to prison terms earlier this year for attending the vigil. The last eight defendants, who have pleaded not guilty, will appear in November.

On the night of June 3-4, 1989, the Chinese army bloodily suppressed seven weeks of student demonstrations in the huge Tiananmen Square, in the heart of Beijing, killing hundreds, if not more than a thousand. This subject is taboo in China, where the communist regime has never expressed regret for the massacre and where no commemoration is allowed.

The World with AFP


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