Hong Kong media tycoon and outspoken pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai was sentenced to extra jail time Friday over his position in an anti-government protest in 2019, as authorities crack down on dissent within the metropolis.
Lai and 9 others have been charged with incitement to participate in an unauthorized meeting, for his or her roles in a protest on Oct. 1, 2019, once they walked down a street with 1000’s of others.
Lai, 73, was sentenced to 14 months in jail. He’s at the moment serving a separate 14-month jail time period for different convictions earlier this 12 months additionally associated to unauthorized rallies in 2019, when Hong Kong residents took to the streets within the largest problem to Beijing for the reason that metropolis was handed from British to Chinese language management in 1997.
With the 2 sentences mixed, Lai will serve a complete of 20 months behind bars.
The founding father of The Apple Every day, a feisty pro-democracy tabloid, Lai can also be being investigated beneath town’s sweeping nationwide safety legislation, imposed final 12 months, on suspicion of colluding with international powers to intervene in Hong Kong affairs.
Additionally receiving jail phrases of 18 months every have been former lawmakers Albert Ho and Leung Kwok-hung, in addition to Lee Cheuk-yan, a pro-democracy activist and ex-lawmaker who helped set up annual candlelight vigils in Hong Kong to commemorate the bloody crackdown in Beijing’s Tiananmen Sq. in 1989.
Figo Chan, head of a political group recognized for organizing protest rallies within the metropolis, additionally obtained 18 months behind bars.
Three activists — Yeung Sum, Cyd Ho and Avery Ng — obtained 14-month jail phrases. Two others, Richard Tsoi and Sin Chung-kai, had their jail phrases suspended.
A few of the activists are already serving jail sentences for earlier convictions and can serve a part of their new sentences consecutive to their present jail phrases.
Blinken of U.S. condemns arrest of dissidents
Over the previous 12 months, Beijing has clamped down on civil liberties in response to protests. Hong Kong authorities have arrested and charged a lot of the metropolis’s pro-democracy advocates, together with Joshua Wong, a scholar chief throughout 2014 protests. Scores of others have fled overseas.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in an announcement known as on Hong Kong authorities to drop costs filed in opposition to folks “merely for standing for election or for expressing dissenting views.”
On Thursday, the Hong Kong legislature, which is dominated by pro-Beijing lawmakers, handed a invoice lowering the variety of instantly elected seats and rising the variety of legislators appointed by a largely pro-Beijing committee. The legislation additionally ensures that solely “patriots” can run for public posts.
In the meantime, police banned the June 4 candlelight vigil marking the Tiananmen crackdown for the second 12 months in a row citing bodily distancing restrictions, organizers mentioned Thursday. Hong Kong’s safety minister warned residents that collaborating in unauthorized assemblies is in opposition to the legislation and will likely be handled accordingly.