Activist Joshua Wong was jailed for 13-and-a-half months on Wednesday by a Hong Kong court for his role in last year’s riots in the city.
Last month, Wong pleaded guilty to organizing and inciting an unauthorized assembly outside a police station during 2019’s anti-government protests. As the offenses had taken place before China implemented its new national security law, he was only facing up to five years in prison, avoiding a potential life sentence.
Wong’s associates Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam were jailed alongside him for 10 and seven months respectively, after also pleading guilty to charges related to the same unlawful assembly.
Wong and Lam were previously jailed for their role in pro-democracy protests. Chow is facing further charges under the national security law, accused of colluding with foreign forces, which, if she is found guilty, could carry a life sentence.
Around 100 supporters had gathered in the court ahead of the sentencing, while a group of pro-Beijing protesters rallied outside the building, calling on the judge to hand down a long prison term.
Sentencing the group, Magistrate Wong Sze-lai said: “The defendants called on protesters to besiege the headquarters and chanted slogans that undermine the police force. Immediate imprisonment is the only appropriate option.”
As he was escorted out of the court, Wong shouted to his supporters: “The days ahead will be tough but we will hang in there.” Following the sentencing, Human Rights Group condemned the jail term, describing it as both “heartbreaking and outrageous.”
Beijing has rejected the criticism that it’s faced, accusing Wong and his associates of being the ‘black hand’ of foreign forces, arguing that the sentences and its new national security law are required to restore stability.
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