Student activist Agnes Chow poses for photo at Demosisto party’s office in Hong Kong, China. File/Reuters
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow was denied bail on Wednesday pending an appeal against her 10-month jail sentence on charges related to unauthorised assembly during anti-government protests last year.
The 24-year old activist was jailed on Dec.2 along with Joshua Wong for their roles in an unlawful rally near police headquarters in 2019, the toughest and most high-profile sentencing of opposition figures this year.
Chow’s hearing came after around 16 activists were arrested since Monday, part of a relentless crackdown on opposition forces in the Chinese-ruled city.
Critics say Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government is curtailing opposition and wide-ranging freedoms guaranteed after the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, a charge authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong reject.
Chow, along with Wong and Nathan Law, founded the now-disbanded democracy group Demosisto in 2016. The party was dissolved hours after Beijing passed a contentious national security law for the city on June 30 amid fears it could be targeted under the legislation.
Chow was also arrested in August under the new security legislation on suspicion of “colluding with foreign forces,” but is yet to face any charges.
Under the national security law, Beijing punishes what it broadly defines as sedition, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in jail.
Foreign diplomats and rights groups are closely watching proceedings as concerns mount over the vanishing space for dissent in the former British colony, which has taken a swift authoritarian turn since the imposition of the law in June 2020.
Lai had been in custody since Dec.3, except when he was released on bail for about a week late last year. He was granted a HK$10 million ($1.3 million) bail by a lower court on Dec. 23 only for the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) to bring him back into custody on Dec.31
It would be the first time that Lai, one of Hong Kong's most prominent democratic activists, who has been in jail since December after being denied bail in a separate national security trial, will receive a sentence.
Welcoming the participants, His Highness said: "Dubai provides the safest environment for participants from around the world to discuss ideas and exchange knowledge and insights that contribute to creating a better future for humanity."
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Heavy snow is rare in the city, so children went out into the streets to watch the flakes falling and hurl snowballs at each other.
The police stated that failing to leave a sufficient gap causes traffic accidents that result in human and material losses, and appealed to drivers to always abide by traffic laws and regulations to protect themselves and other road users from traffic accidents.