Hong Kong activists behind Tiananmen vigil sentenced to 4.5 months in jail

Three former organizers of Hong Kong’s annual vigil in remembrance of victims of China’s 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests had been jailed Saturday for four-and-a-half months for failing to present authorities with info on the group in accordance with a nationwide safety regulation.

Chow Cling-tung, Tang Ngok-kwan and Tsui Hon-kwong had been arrested in 2021 throughout a crackdown on the town’s pro-democracy motion following huge protests greater than three years in the past. They had been leaders of the Hong Kong Alliance in Help of Patriotic Democratic Actions of China and had been discovered responsible final week.

The now-defunct alliance was finest identified for organizing candlelight vigils in Hong Kong on the anniversary of the 1989 Chinese language army’s crushing of Tiananmen Sq. pro-democracy protests, however it was voted to disband in 2021 beneath the shadow of the Beijing-imposed nationwide safety regulation.

Supporters say its closure has proven freedoms and autonomy that had been promised when Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 are diminishing.


Earlier than its disbandment, police had sought particulars about its operations and funds in reference to alleged hyperlinks to democracy teams abroad, accusing it of being a overseas agent. However the group refused to co-operate, arguing the police didn’t have a proper to ask for its info as a result of it was not a overseas agent and the authorities didn’t present adequate justification.

Beneath the safety regulation’s implementation guidelines, the police chief can request a spread of knowledge from a overseas agent. Failure to adjust to the request might consequence in six months in jail and a wonderful of 100,000 Hong Kong {dollars} ($17,600 Cdn) if convicted.

Activist denies group was overseas agent

In her mitigation, Chow mentioned the alliance was not a overseas agent and that nothing had emerged that proved in any other case, so sentencing them was about punishing individuals for defending the reality.

She mentioned nationwide safety is getting used as a pretext to wage a conflict on civil society.

“Sir, sentence us for our insubordination in the event you should, however when the train of energy is predicated on lies, being insubordinate is the one means to be human,” she mentioned.

Handing down the sentences, principal Justice of the Peace Peter Legislation mentioned the case is the primary of its variety beneath the brand new regulation and the sentencing has to ship a transparent message to society that the regulation doesn’t condone any violation.

Legislation, who was authorised by the town’s chief to oversee the case, mentioned he noticed no justification for lowering the four-and-a-half-month sentence.

In earlier authorized proceedings, the court docket ordered a partial redaction of some info after prosecutors argued {that a} full disclosure of knowledge would jeopardize an ongoing probe into nationwide safety circumstances. Therefore, some essential particulars, together with the names of teams that had been alleged to have hyperlinks with the alliance, had been redacted.

Defence lawyer Philip Dykes mentioned he couldn’t say “how sturdy or weak” the alleged hyperlinks had been and that made mitigation tough.

Vigil banned in 2020

The annual vigil organized by the alliance was the one large-scale public commemoration of the June 4 crackdown on Chinese language soil and was attended by huge crowds till authorities banned it in 2020, citing anti-pandemic measures.

Chow, together with two different former alliance leaders, Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Ho, had been charged with inciting subversion of state energy beneath the safety regulation in 2021. The alliance itself was charged with subversion.

The nationwide safety regulation criminalizes secession, subversion, and collusion with overseas forces to intervene in the town’s affairs in addition to terrorism. Many professional-democracy activists had been silenced or jailed after its enactment in 2020.


In a separate case, Elizabeth Tang, who was arrested for endangering nationwide safety earlier this week, was launched on bail on Saturday. Tang is a veteran labour activist and likewise Lee’s spouse.

Elizabeth Tang, centre, the previous chief govt of the now-disbanded pro-democracy group Hong Kong Confederation of Commerce Unions, walks out of a police station in Hong Kong on Saturday. Former vice-chairperson Leo Tang is behind her. (Louise Delmotte/The Related Press)

In an announcement Thursday that didn’t present a reputation, police mentioned that they had arrested a 65-year-old lady on Hong Kong Island for suspected collusion with a overseas nation or with exterior parts to endanger nationwide safety. It mentioned she was being detained for investigation.

“I really feel clueless as a result of my work is at all times about labour rights and organizing commerce unions. So I do not perceive why I used to be accused of breaking the regulation and endangering nationwide safety,” she informed reporters on Saturday after being launched.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button