Three years after the 79-day Occupy protests calling for greater democracy in Hong Kong, the young leaders of the movement are going to jail. Joshua Wong, 20, Nathan Law, 24, and Alex Chow, 26, were sentenced to six months, eight months, and seven months, respectively, by a court in Hong Kong today (Aug. 17) for their actions in the 2014 protests, also known as the Umbrella Movement. Wilson Leung, a practicing lawyer in Hong Kong and member of the Progressive Lawyers Group, said that he still believes judges in Hong Kong are independent of the government. “However, we strongly disagree with the government treating political problems as ‘law and order’ problems and focusing on the prosecution of protestors,” he said.
On August 17, a Hong Kong appeals court sentenced student democracy activists Joshua Wong, Alex Chow, and Nathan Law to six to eight months imprisonment. The three had earlier been convicted of crimes related to unlawful assembly during a demonstration in 2014 when they had crossed a police barrier, but the lower court had sentenced them only to community service and a suspended jail sentence, arguing that their breach had been a form of political expression. But even in Hong Kong, a city which has enjoyed political freedoms absent elsewhere in China, it was the preservation of “public order” the court chose to emphasize. “To disrupt public order and public peace in the name of free exercise of powers,” said court Vice President Wally Yeung Chun-kuen, “will cause our society to descend into chaos.” The new sentence, which the three plan to appeal, also carries a five-year prohibition on running for elected office in Hong Kong. Progressive Lawyers Group member Alvin Y.H. Cheung was interviewed by ChinaFile about the jailed activists.
Hong Kong’s democracy movement has suffered the latest setback in what has been a punishing year after three of its most influential young leaders were jailed for their roles in a protest at the start of a 79-day anti-government occupation known as the umbrella movement. “It smacks of political imprisonment, plain and simple,” said Jason Ng, a member of the Progressive Lawyers Group and the author of Umbrellas in Bloom, a book about Hong Kong’s youth protest movement.
Nearly three years ago, several Hong Kong youth with hopes of greater democracy led a downtown protest that ballooned into thousands and lasted for 79 days. Now, they’re going to jail. “It felt like a punch in the stomach,” said Jason Y. Ng, a lawyer, a member of the Progressive Lawyers Group and personal friend of Wong’s, who has written a book about the Umbrella Movement.
原為律師的Antony Dapiran在1994年由澳洲來港，他對香港歷史的興趣由抗爭而起，在雨傘運動期間撰寫報道，後追溯香港的抗爭歷史，寫下《City of Protest: A Recent History of Dissent in Hong Kong》。他最後選擇脫下律師袍，從文學角度繼續書寫。
Kevin Yam of the Progressive Lawyers Group said the city government would potentially create an act of state, which Hong Kong courts are unable to scrutinize. “What they are doing is not to uphold the constitutionality of that [co-location] proposal, but really to try to shield it from the constitutional scrutiny,” Yam said, adding that the enforcement of mainland laws even in a small part of Hong Kong is in direct contravention of explicit requirements under the Basic Law.
More than a thousand individuals and organisations have signed a petition urging the government to speed up the legislation of a gender recognition ordinance after the death of a transgender woman earlier this month. As of Monday, the petition had 1,008 co-signers, including LGBTQ non-governmental organisations Rainbow of Hong Kong, the Association of Transgender Rights, and BigLove Alliance. Political parties such as Demosisto, the League of Social Democrats, and the Progressive Lawyers Group have also signed.
Legal experts have raised concerns over Beijing’s interpretation of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution amid the oath row in the legislature, arguing that it damaged Hong Kong’s rule of law and potentially violated human rights. The remarks came after the Court of First Instance unseated four elected lawmakers last Fridayfor failing to take their oaths properly at LegCo last October.
(Foreign Policy) As Hong Kong prepared to mark the 20th anniversary of its handover to Chinese sovereignty, the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party sent instructions to supporters planning to attend a rally: bring masks both for anonymity and as protection against tear gas, encrypt your electronic devices, and carry a telephone number for legal assistance in case of arrest. The spur for this was the Hong Kong authorities’ prohibition of the rally on the grounds that it violated the territory’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, which has been in effect since 1997 when Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty. The group had issued this precautionary list with the intention of defying the ban, but it backed down after police threatened the organizer with detention for illegal assembly, despite the fact that he was the sole attendee.
Hong Kong c’est chez moi, j’en suis fier car elle incarne des valeurs uniques, introuvables en Chine populaire, et si la démocratie y est mise à mal, la justice résiste. » Wilson Leung, 37 ans, est avocat, fondateur du Progressive Lawyers Group (groupe des avocats progressistes), créé au lendemain du grand mouvement démocratique de 2014 auquel la Chine a répondu par une fin de non-recevoir : il n’y aura pas de réformes démocratiques du système électoral pour l’élection du chef de l’exécutif, qui restera choisi par un comité électoral dominé par Pékin.
Progressive Lawyers Group convener Kevin Yam Kin-fung said the judgment was far-reaching. He said a lawmaker could now even be held accountable for holding an umbrella while taking an oath. “It opens a huge floodgate,” he said, and could have a chilling effect on lawmakers in future.
(TIME) A court in Hong Kong has ruled that four pro-democracy lawmakers are to lose their seats in the territory's Legislative Council over the manner in which they took their oaths of office when they were sworn in, a fate that befell two of their colleagues last year.