Sat, 11 Jul 2020

Hong Kong Democracy Activist Sent Back to Jail

Voice of America
16 May 2019, 22:06 GMT+10

Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong was sent back to jail Thursday over his role in leading the 2014 pro-democracy street protests.

Wong, along with fellow student activists Nathan Law and Alex Chow, stormed a courtyard on the grounds of the government's headquarters in September of that year, which led to the "Umbrella Revolution" that shut down several major highways for more than two months, demanding fully free elections.

He was sentenced last January to serve three months in jail on a charge of failing to obey a court order to leave a protest camp during the demonstrations. But he was released on bail after only six days so he could appeal the sentence.

In its decision ordering Wong back to jail, the Court of Appeals said any suggestion that he had been excessively punished because of his notoriety was "entirely baseless and misconceived." However, the court reduced his sentence to two months.

Wong, Law and Chow were sentenced in 2016 in a different case related to the protests. They initially received non-custodial sentences, but prosecutors later successfully persuaded the court to impose jail sentences between six to eight months on the trio. They were later released on bail so they could appeal their convictions, which were later overturned.

'One government, two systems'

The Umbrella Movement protests, named after the yellow umbrellas the demonstrators carried as a sign of solidarity, were launched to demand the direct election of the city's top leader after China reneged on promises of universal suffrage by 2017. The protests ended without winning any concessions from the Hong Kong government on their demands.

Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy under the "one government, two systems" arrangement established when China regained control of the financial hub from Britain in 1997. But political activists and observers say Beijing is slowly tightening its grip on the territory and eroding its basic freedoms.

Before entering the courtroom to hear the verdict, Wong criticized a proposed law that would allow Hong Kong to extradite people to other jurisdictions where it lacks a permanent extradition agreement, including China and Taiwan.

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