Beijing, Dec 9 (EFE).- Businessman Jimmy Lai, founder of defunct opposition newspaper Apple Daily, was found guilty Thursday among other politicians and activists in Hong Kong of inciting participation in an unauthorized vigil to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre.
The Hong Kong court said Lai, in prison for several months for organizing or participating in other protests, incited others to participate in the vigil held yearly in Hong Kong in memory of the victims after police banned it in 2020 for the first time.
It said celebrating it went against Covid-19 prevention measures, although thousands of people defied the order.
In addition to Lai, former journalist Gwyneth Ho and lawyer Chow Hang-tung were also convicted Thursday of “inciting to participate in an unauthorized gathering” and for “knowingly taking part in an unauthorized gathering” respectively.
The court, according to local press, will announce on Dec. 13 the sentence it will impose on the three convicts.
Previously, 16 others were also sentenced to between six and 10 months in prison for their role in last year’s vigil, which was also not held in 2021.
Lai, Ho and Chow were the only ones who had pleaded “not guilty” and went to trial.
Those convicted include activists such as Joshua Wong, one of the best-known faces in the protests that swept through Hong Kong in 2019 to call for more democracy for the city.
Other opponents, such as former legislator Nathan Law or activist Ray Wong, decided to go into exile – in the United Kingdom and Germany, respectively – for fear of being prosecuted.
Between January and September, 50 Hong Kong organizations were dissolved to minimize the risks for their members of being convicted under the controversial National Security Law imposed by Beijing, which came into force on 30 June 2020 and what a penalty of up to life imprisonment for “secession” or “conspiring with foreign forces.”
The city is scheduled to hold Legislative Council elections Dec. 19 under new electoral legislation, also promoted by Beijing. This further restricts the already limited suffrage system that has prevailed until now, in a way that minimizes the options to access power for those who oppose the Chinese government’s guidelines. EFE