Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong gets more jail time over banned Tiananmen vigil

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Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been sentenced to 10 additional months in jail for taking part in an unauthorized assembly last year to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

The 24-year-old Wong is already in prison for a separate unauthorised assembly conviction under the country’s restrictive national security law.

He is currently serving a 13-and-a-half-month and four months in jail sentences on two separate charges for organizing an unauthorized protest in 2019.

The annual Tiananmen Square vigil, which has been held in Hong Kong since 1990, was banned for the first time last year by police citing virus measures but tens of thousands of people including activists still showed up.

The activists that attended, including Wong, were later charged by police.

Wong had last Friday, along with other prominent young activists Lester Shum, Tiffany Yuen and Jannelle Leung, pleaded guilty for participating in the Tiananmen vigil.

Thursday’s sentencing saw Shum jailed for six months, while the two others have been jailed for four months each.

Hong Kong and Macau are the only parts of China that have been allowed to mark the Tiananmen crackdown.

On the mainland, references to the crackdown are banned, and the government mentions it rarely – if at all.

But in Hong Kong, tens of thousands of people traditionally gather at the city’s Victoria Park to mark the crackdown.

The Tiananmen vigil was again banned this year, with officials again citing public health concerns.

However, there have been questions over whether or not the vigil will be allowed in Hong Kong again, after Beijing imposed the national security law last year which targets dissent in the city.

Introduced in 2020 by China, the law criminalises secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces, with the maximum sentence life in prison.

Beijing said the law would target “sedition” and bring stability but critics say it effectively curtails protest and freedom of speech.

Around 100 people have been arrested since the law was enacted in June. (Source: BBC)

 

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