Hong Kong sentences pro-democracy activists
A court handed down sentences ranging from four to 14 months in prison to eight people involved with the annual Tiananmen Square vigil in Hong Kong. The government has canceled the event for the past two years citing pandemic concerns. Organizers were sentenced for encouraging people to light candles and sing in Victoria Park. Most of the activists accused of inciting disobedience against the police pleaded guilty or fled the city.
Who was convicted? One of those sentenced was Jimmy Lai, activist and founder of the now-defunct pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily. He received 13 months in prison. Lai submitted a mitigation letter stating he did not attend the illegal vigil but instead lit a candle in front of reporters to commemorate when the Chinese military massacred peaceful protesters in Beijing on June 4, 1989. The judge declared it was still “an act of defiance and protest against the police.” Lai, 74, is serving a separate 14-month sentence for convictions related to 2019 rallies. He also awaits trial for charges under the national security law, some of which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Dig deeper: Read Jordan J. Ballor’s analysis in WORLD Opinions of Jimmy Lai’s leadership.
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