International

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong jailed for thirteen-and-a-half months for anti-government protest

New Europe - Elena Pavlovska

One of Hong Kong’s most prominent democracy activists, Joshua Wong, was jailed on Wednesday for more than 13 months for participating in an unauthorised anti-government rally last year.

Wong became the face of the 2014 student-led Umbrella Movement democracy protests. Last year’s pro-democracy protests, however, prompted Beijing to impose a controversial national security law in June. The law aims to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life in prison.

“Ahead of us is another challenging battleground. We’re now joining the battle in prison along with many brave protesters, less visible yet essential in the fight for democracy and freedom for Hong Kong”, said the 24-year-old Wong, who had pleaded guilty to organising and inciting an unlawful assembly.

In response to the court ruling, Britain’s foreign minister Dominic Raab urged Hong Kong and Beijing authorities to stop their campaigns to stifle the opposition. Britain administered Hong Kong until a 1997 handover to China. In July, it suspended its extradition treaty and blocked arms sales with the city. It also offered residency rights to three million Hong Kongers.

Rights group Amnesty International condemned the court ruling: “By targeting well-known activists from Hong Kong’s largely leaderless protest movement, authorities are sending a warning to anyone who dares openly criticize the government that they could be next”, it said.

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