tirsdag 27. april 2021

Hong Kong: ‘I Stand the Law’s Good Servant, but the People’s First’

On April 16, Hong Kong’s High Court sentenced 10 of Hong Kong’s leading pro-democracy activists for their role in leading unauthorized protests in August 2019. Although the protests were peaceful and caused minimal disruption, the court nonetheless handed down a mix of prison and suspended sentences, ranging from 8 to 18 months. In prior unlawful assembly cases, judges had doled out much lighter penalties, often fining those convicted rather than jailing them.

Those convicted represented a virtual who’s who of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, many of whom had never faced criminal charges before. Former legislator Martin Lee, 82, often referred to as Hong Kong’s “father of democracy,” was given a suspended sentence of 11 months. His fellow former Legislative Council colleague and former chair of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party Albert Ho was given a 12-month suspended sentence. Media mogul Jimmy Lai, 72, already in jail pending trial under Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, was sentenced to 14 months, and activist Leung Kwok-hung, known as “Long Hair,” was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Former legislator and prominent lawyer Margaret Ng was given a suspended sentence of 12 months. In her sentencing statement, which she read out in open court, Ng recounted her career in law and politics, interweaving her own story with the decades-long fight for democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong.