HONG KONG – Joshua Wong, a famous democracy figure, has been sentenced to 13 and a half months in prison, while his activist partner Agnes Chow has been given 10 months for protesting in Hong Kong last year, the latest blow to political opposition in the Chinese city.
Ivan Lamot, the third member of their dissolved political group, Demosisto, was sentenced to seven months. While awaiting sentencing, all three were imprisoned last week after pleading guilty to charges of unauthorized assembly during a demonstration in June 2019 when thousands of people gathered in front of the Police Headquarters at the start of a mass protest movement flooding the city. They were expected to serve three years in prison.
Demosisto disbanded shortly after China introduced a far-reaching national security law against Hong Kong this summer. Authorities have since carried out increasingly aggressive attacks on dissent, arresting activists, journalists and politicians. Four MPs were also removed from office last month, as a result of which the pro-democracy camp abandoned local legislation en masse.
Mr. Wong, 24, has become a violent force to attract huge protests against the limits of direct elections in 2014, in the so-called Umbrella Movement. Ms. Chow, 23, who has been called the “Mulan” of the Hong Kong Democratic Movement, has a wide range of followers in Japan due to her knowledge of the Japanese language.
Mr. Lam, 26, co-founded the Scholarism activist group in 2011 with Mr. Wong. The group, which Ms Chow joined a year later, led protests against a plan to introduce a national education curriculum in Hong Kong schools, which they see as “brainwashing”. Mr Lam was later imprisoned for breaking into the legislature during the 2014 protest against the development plan.
After he was jailed last week, Mr. Wong spent three days in solitary confinement because an investigation suggested he had been able to swallow a foreign object before his detention. During this period, he had difficulty sleeping because the lights in his cell remained on 24 hours a day and were subjected to regular medical checkups, said Fernando Cheung, a former lawmaker who met with Mr. Wong on Saturday. No foreign objects were found, Mr Cheung added.
Mr. Wong was sentenced to three months in prison in 2018 for his contempt for the demolition of the protest camp in November 2014. After six days until his appeal, he was released on release and then returned for an abbreviated two-month completion. sentence in May 2019.
He also served a 69-day, six-month sentence on charges of illegal assembly before he was released, and the sentence was thrown out by the Hong Kong Final Court of Appeal in 2018.
Ms. Chow, who had not been imprisoned before, said she had not adapted properly to the conditions of detention and could not sleep at night, according to a message sent to her friends who visited her in prison and posted to her Facebook account on Sunday. . .
“I note that they will probably be sentenced to prison on Wednesday, so my morale was low and I was very worried,” they were quoted as saying.
Ms. Chow was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of violating the new National Security Act by inciting secession. But in this case, he was not charged.
Mr Cheung said Mr Wong had found a positive thing about returning to detention: he no longer had to face constant questions about what would happen to the besieged democracy movement in Hong Kong.
“You don’t have to deal with that yet,” Mr. Cheung said. “People understand they can’t do much in prison.” The burden now falls on people from the outside. “