Seven Hong Kong Activists Jailed Over Protest

Seven Hong Kong democracy campaigners, including former lawmakers, were sentenced yesterday to up to one year in jail for their roles in a protest last year against the sweeping National Security Law imposed by China.

The seven had pleaded guilty to charges that included organizing the unauthorized assembly on July 1 last year when thousands of protesters took to the streets. Police, who had banned the demonstration citing coronavirus restrictions, fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds.

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

Chan was sentenced to one year in jail, while the others were given sentences from six to 10 months.

The nature of incitement was serious, said the judge, Mr. Douglas Yau, adding that it created the risk of violence.

Beijing imposed the National Security Law on June 30 last year as a response to widespread anti-government protests in 2019 that roiled the territory. The law, drawn up by China, sets out to punish subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

The protest took place the next day — the first full day under the new law, although civic groups had held demonstrations on July 1 for years to champion various issues, including democratic rights.

We could only choose civil disobedience. It was a peaceful, rational and non-violent way to express our demand against the national security law, Chan said in mitigation. In order to uphold the belief of civil disobedience, I decided to plead guilty, admitting that I violated the evil public order law, he explained.

According to the Security Bureau, more than 150 people have been arrested under the National Security Law.

Go back