U.S. and U.K. leaders They have condemned Hong Kong’s decision to convict three prominent activists in prison on charges related to an illegal democracy.
Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong was sentenced to more than 13 months in prison on Wednesday, while two other pro-democracy activists, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam, were also sentenced to 10 months and seven months respectively.
Wong has pleaded guilty to organizing and organizing an illegal meeting near Hong Kong police headquarters last year. Chow admitted to inciting and participating in the same protest, and Lam pleaded guilty to incitement.
Reactions From Across The World
Responding to the decision, the U.K. Secretary of State Dominic Raab has called on the Hong Kong and Beijing authorities to “end their crackdown on dissent.”
“Prosecution decisions must be fair and impartial, and the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong must be upheld,” Raab said in a statement.
Hong Kong is a former British colony that returned to China in 1997. It is run under the framework of “one country, two systems” and is given greater independence than other Chinese cities.
Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi also criticized the decision in a statement.
“The brutal sentencing of these young champions in a Hong Kong democracy is shocking,” he said. “This injustice is a clear indication that Beijing will stand for anything to end the conflict and undermine the guaranteed independence and independence of the people of Hong Kong.”
She called on “freedom-loving people” to condemn “the unjust sentence and widespread Chinese attack on Hong Kongers.”
Defending its decision to sentence the three activists, the Hong Kong Department of Justice said in a statement: “Human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, are fully protected by the Constitution. That freedom, however, is not absolute. ”
Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet that he was “deeply saddened” by the news.
“We hope our friends in Hong Kong will not give in to fear and let their vision disappear,” he said in a post.
China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and sees the democratic island as a fleeing province. The Chinese Communist Party has never ruled an independent island.
The last British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, said the decision “is another bad example of China’s determination to handcuff Hong Kong,” according to the Associated Press.
Beijing overtook Hong Kong lawmakers earlier this year to pass a controversial national security law that was seen by some as a way to end tensions after months of pro-democracy protests. Four opposition legislatures were also expelled from the city assembly for endangering national security, Reuters reported.
Human Right Violations
Exiled activists Nathan Law and Alex Chow, in an article in the New York Times, urged incumbent Biden officials to continue criticizing the Chinese Communist Party and to promote a policy that “puts human rights ahead of other goals.”
Amnesty International, a non-governmental organization that specializes in human rights, said prison policies violated the right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.
“Their beliefs must be changed without delay and they must be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty’s director for the Asia-Pacific region.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam were sentenced to prison on Wednesday on charges related to the 2019 illegal democratically elected assembly.
Wong was imprisoned for more than 13 months, and Chow and Lam were sentenced to 10 months and seven months in prison each.
World leaders include UK Secretary of State Dominic Raab and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi criticized the decision.