prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong was arrested after pleading guilty to organizing and instigating an unauthorized gathering near police headquarters during anti-government protests last year. Key Points: Joshua Wong and other activists pleaded guilty to organizing and participating in unauthorized demonstrations. You could be in prison for up to three years. A growing number of activists in Hong Kong have been indicted since Beijing passed extensive national security laws
Wong, who was only 17 years old when he became the face of the student-led democracy protests of the Umbrella movement in 2014, faces a maximum prison sentence of three years.
Before being taken away by security guards, Wong shouted, « Hold on, add oil » in the courtroom, using a popular Cantonese expression of encouragement often used during protests.
Afterward, Wong said on Twitter that attention should be drawn to the 12 Hong Kongers detained in China after being arrested at sea in August.
They tried to flee to Taiwan by boat to avoid charges related to last year’s protests in the city.
« I want to pay tribute to our fellow activists who are on trial and in jail, right? . . . [in] distress because they cannot return home: we are not fearless, but you are the brave, « he said.
« What we are doing now is explaining the value of freedom to the world, » added Wong.
« I am still learning to overcome fear, and I believe you are with me on this journey. «
Wong pleaded not guilty to a third charge of knowingly attending an unauthorized gathering after prosecutors failed to produce evidence.
His longtime activist colleagues Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam, who also pleaded guilty to similar allegations, were arrested in the same trial.
Dozens of supporters outside the court chanted pro-democracy slogans and « Release Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam! »
Wong was not a leading figure in the anti-democracy and anti-China protests last year, but his continued activism has drawn the wrath of Beijing, who sees him as the « black hand » of foreign forces.
He disbanded his pro-democracy group Demosisto in June, just hours after the Chinese parliament passed a comprehensive national security law for Hong Kong.
The law punishes anything Beijing sees as subversion, secessionism, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces, including life in prison.
Wong is also accused of being involved in October 2019 and April 4. Attending an unauthorized gathering to remember the crackdown on demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989.
Earlier this year, Wong, along with eleven other pro-democracy politicians and activists, was banned from participating in a postponed election for the city’s legislature.
Repeated arrests of activists like Wong have been criticized by Western governments for failing to honor its commitment to grant Hong Kong a high level of autonomy. This was agreed with the former colonial master Great Britain when the city returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
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Joshua Wong, Hong Kong, pro-democracy camp, Agnes Chow, protest
World News – AU – Prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has to plead guilty with a Expect jail time
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