Nine Hong Kong activists have been sentenced to prison for participating in the Tiananmen Square Vigil.
On Wednesday, nine seasoned democracy activists in Hong Kong were sentenced to six to ten months in prison for participating in a Tiananmen Square vigil that was forbidden by police last year.
On the same counts of joining an unlawful assembly or inciting others to join, three individuals were given suspended sentences.
The sentencing came just a week after the organizers of the yearly memorial were charged with inciting subversion after a police raid on a museum in the city dedicated to Beijing’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
The Hong Kong Alliance had held vigils for the victims of the operation for three decades.
The June 4 event, which was formerly one of the most conspicuous emblems of Hong Kong’s political freedoms, has been banned for the previous two years, blaming the coronavirus pandemic and security concerns.
However, following massive and often violent democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2019, China is in the midst of remoulding the financial centre in its own authoritarian image.
Prominent democratic figures have been detained, and those deemed “unpatriotic” have been expelled.
Albert Ho, the former vice chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance, was sentenced to ten months in prison for inciting and six months in prison for attending the vigil on Wednesday.
His sentences will run concurrently with the 18 months he is already serving for other matters.
A total of 26 activists from across Hong Kong’s political spectrum were involved in the case surrounding the 2020 vigil.
Before the trio was first brought to court in September last year, two of them, Nathan Law and Sunny Cheung, had fled the city for exile.
For attending the vigil, Joshua Wong, Lester Shum, Tiffany Yuen, and Janelle Leung were sentenced to prison earlier this year.
The trial of the remaining eight defendants, who have pleaded not guilty, will take place in November.
Thousands of people disregarded the police’s prohibition on the 2020 vigil and gathered peacefully in Victoria Park in the city.
In recent years, attendance at the yearly protest has increased as public outrage over Beijing’s handling of Hong Kong has grown.
Such political rebellion is no longer tolerated.
Beijing imposed a sweeping national security statute just weeks after last year’s march, transforming Hong Kong’s once open political landscape.
More than a hundred pro-democracy activists have been detained as a result of the law, largely for expressing political opinions.
Most are denied bail, and if convicted, they might spend the rest of their lives in prison.
The Hong Kong Alliance, formally known as the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Chinese Patriotic Democratic Movements, is a non-profit organization based in Hong Kong. Brief News from Washington Newsday.