Seven Hong Kong activists jailed over unauthorised protest in 2020 By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Professional-democracy activist Figo Chan gestures as he walks to a jail van to move to courtroom over prices associated to an unauthorised meeting on October 1, 2019, in Hong Kong, China Could 28, 2021. REUTERS/Lam Yik

By Jessie Pang

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Seven Hong Kong democracy campaigners, together with former lawmakers, had been sentenced on Saturday to as much as 12 months in jail for his or her position in a protest final yr in opposition to a sweeping nationwide safety legislation imposed by China.

The seven had pleaded responsible to prices that included organising the unauthorised meeting on July 1, 2020, when hundreds of protesters took to the streets. Police, who had banned the demonstration citinbg coronavirus restrictions, fired tear fuel and water cannon to disperse them.

The activists included Figo Chan, a former convenor of the now-disbanded Civil Human Rights Entrance (CHRF); Tsang Kin-shing and Tang Sai-lai of the League of Social Democrats; former district councillor Andy Chui; and former legislators Wu Chi-wai, Eddie Chu and Leung Kwok-hung.

Chan was jailed for 12 months, whereas the others got sentences from six to 10 months.

“The character of incitement was severe,” mentioned the decide, Douglas Yau, noting that it created the chance of violence.

Beijing imposed a nationwide safety legislation on June 30 final yr as a response to widespread anti-government protests in 2019 that roiled town. The legislation, drawn up by China, units out to punish subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with international forces.

The protest passed off the subsequent day – the primary full day beneath the brand new legislation, although civil society teams had held deminstrations on July 1 for years to champion varied points, together with democratic rights.

Hong Kong returned to Chinese language rule in 1997 with the promise its wide-ranging freedoms and excessive diploma of autonomy could be preserved. Beijing and Hong Kong authorities have repeatedly denied curbing human rights and freedoms.

“We may solely select civil disobedience… a peaceable, rational and non-violent method to categorical our demand in opposition to the nationwide safety legislation,” Figo Chan mentioned in mitigation.

“As a way to uphold the idea of civil disobedience, I made a decision to plead responsible, admitting that I violated the “evil public order legislation”.”

No less than 370 individuals had been arrested that day for unlawful meeting and different offences, with ten involving violations of the safety legislation, in response to police.

Tong Ying-kit, the primary particular person convicted beneath the nationwide safety legislation, was sentenced in July to 9 years in jail for terrorist actions and inciting secession.

He was accused of driving his bike that day into riot police whereas carrying a flag with the now-banned protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our occasions”.

In response to the Safety Bureau, greater than 150 individuals have been arrested beneath the nationwide safety legislation. Amongst them, 100 individuals have been formally charged.

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