Hong Kong activists including Joshua Wong plead guilty to illegal assembly - GulfToday

Hong Kong activists including Joshua Wong plead guilty to illegal assembly

Joshua-Wong

(L-R) Ivan Lam, Agnes Chow and Joshua Wong arrive at the West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts in Hong Kong. Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Gulf Today Report

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and other two dissidents were remanded into custody on Monday after pleading guilty to charges of organising and taking part in an unauthorised assembly, inciting a rally during last year's pro-democracy protests near the police headquarters.

Hong Kong was convulsed by seven straight months of huge and often violent democracy rallies last year in which millions took to the streets.

Wong said he would not be surprised if immediate detention followed.


READ MORE

French ex-President Sarkozy stands trial for corruption

Biden expected to nominate Blinken as secretary of state


Beijing and local authorities have refused demands for free elections and have pursued democracy supporters with criminal cases and a sweeping new national security law.

“Perhaps the authorities wish me to stay in prison one term after another,” Wong said.

Hong-Kong-Protest-Aug4-main1-750
Anti-extradition bill protesters walk among tear gas at Wong Tai Sin, a residential area, in Hong Kong. File/Reuters

Wong, 24, was prosecuted alongside fellow activists Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow over a protest which took place last summer outside the city police headquarters.

"We will continue to fight for freedom — and now is not the time for us to kowtow to Beijing and surrender," Wong told reporters before the trial began.

"We have no regrets," added Lam, 26.

“But I am persuaded that, neither prison bars, nor election bans, nor any other arbitrary powers would stop us from activism. What we are doing now is to explain the value of freedom to the world.”

Hong-Kong-Protest-Aug11-main2-750
Police officers fire tear gas as anti-extradition bill protesters demonstrate in Hong Kong. File/Reuters

Wong was not a leading figure in last year’s pro-democracy and anti-China protests, but his continued activism has drawn the wrath of Beijing, which sees it as a “black hand” of foreign forces.

He disbanded his pro-democracy group Demosisto in June, just hours after China’s parliament passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong, punishing anything Beijing considers as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with up to life in prison.

His long-time activist colleague Agnes Chow has already pleaded guilty to charges related to the same June 2019 protest, while Ivan Lam, another former Demosisto colleague was also expected to plead guilty.

Wong also faces charges of participating in an unauthorised assembly in October 2019 and on June 4, 2020 over a vigil commemorating the crackdown on protesters in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Related articles