Conflicts & War

Joshua Wong, 3 other Hong Kong activists convicted over banned vigil

Update: Corrects Joshua Wong quote

By Shirley Lau

Hong Kong, Apr 30 (EFE).- Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and three other fellow advocates were convicted Friday by a local court of participating in an unauthorized 2020 assembly commemorating China’s Tiananmen crackdown.

Wong, 24, Lester Shum, 27, Tiffany Yuen, 27, and Jannell Leung, 26, among Hong Kong’s young generation of pro-democracy activists, appeared at the District Court to plead guilty to one count of knowingly taking part in the unauthorized Jun. 4 candlelight vigil in Victoria Park. The event marked 31 years since Chinese armed forces killed hundreds of protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.

“We can’t change the world, but we can stop the world from changing us!” said Wong after the hearing before leaving the dock. The activist is currently serving two jail terms totaling almost a year and a half for protest-related charges.

The hearing came three days after Hong Kong officials announced that the June 2021 vigil will be banned on grounds of Covid-19 concerns, as was done last year.

The annual candlelight vigil in Hong Kong is the biggest event in the world commemorating the Tiananmen crackdown, having been held for 30 consecutive years in the same location since 1990 until last year’s ban. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of Hongkongers defied the prohibition and took part.

In August 2020, two months after the rally, 24 activists, including the four convicted Friday, billionaire media tycoon Jimmy Lai, veteran activist “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, and vice president of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions Lee Cheuk-yan, were charged with taking part in the vigil.

In a previous court hearing, the four, together with former lawmaker Eddie Chu, said they planned to plead guilty. They were tried separately from the other 19 defendants, who were expected to plead not guilty. Today, Chu did not answer the plea and is due to reappear in court together with the other 19 on Jun. 11.

District Court judge Stanley Chan adjourned sentencing for the four to May 6 and remanded them in custody. The offense could earn them five years in jail. EFE


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