— Internet News

Pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai handed new jail term over Hong Kong protests

Jailed Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai was among eight democracy activists handed new prison sentences on Friday for attending protests on the 70th anniversary of the founding of communist China that was followed by a sweeping crackdown.

Mr. Lai, already behind bars for participating in earlier protests, must now serve 20 months after pleading guilty to organizing an unlawful assembly on 1 October 2019.

Seven other leading activists were also given new jail sentences, including 25-year-old youth campaigner Figo Chan and former lawmakers Lee Cheuk-yan and Leung Kwok-hung.

Many flashed “victory” hand signals on their way to court in a police van.

The new sentences are the latest in China’s relentless and successful campaign to smother dissent and dismantle Hong Kong’s democracy movement.

Hong Kong was convulsed by months of huge and often violent pro-democracy protests 2019 in the most serious challenge to Beijing’s rule since the city’s 1997 handover. Services officers to a prison van on 28 May 2021. ” src=”https://sl.sbs.com.au/public/image/file/ec9e91a0-8afb-4f30-b56d-c23e003724a5″ alt=” Leung Kwok-hung and Lee Cheuk-yan raise their hands as they are escorted by Correctional Services officers to a prison van on 28 May 2021. ” width=”700″ height=”466″ />

Leung Kwok-hung and Lee Cheuk-yan raise their hands as Correctional Services officers escort them to a prison van on 28 May 2021.


The clashes with police on China’s 1 October National Day were some of the worst of that period.

Jimmy Lai

It vividly illustrated how huge swathes of Hong Kong’s population seethe under Beijing’s rule as the government celebrated 70 years since communist China’s founding.

While President Xi Jinping oversaw a huge military parade in Beijing, clashes between hardcore protesters and police raged across Hong Kong that day.

The march attended by the activists jailed on Friday remained largely peaceful. But it did not have official police permission, a requirement in Hong Kong.

“It was naive to believe a rallying call for peaceful and rational behavior would be enough to ensure no violence,” district judge Amanda Woodcock said as she handed down jail sentences to the eight activists.

Successful crackdown

China has responded to the democracy rallies with a broad clampdown on Hong Kong, including imposing a sweeping national security law that outlaws much dissent.

Hong Kong authorities on Thursday banned the annual 4 June vigil marking Beijing’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, with security minister John Lee warning the security law could be used against those who defy the ban.

Over 10,000 people were arrested during Hong Kong’s democracy protests, with around 2,500 convicted for various offenses.

Most of the city’s prominent democratic leaders are arrested, jailed or fled overseas.

Services officers to a prison van for a court in Hong Kong on 28 May 2021.” src=”https://sl.sbs.com.au/public/image/file/931dd36a-6199-44da-a716-32d72e40edbd” alt=” Figo Chan shows a victory sign as he is escorted by Correctional Services officers to a prison van for a court in Hong Kong on 28 May 2021.” width=”700″ height=”467″ />

Figo Chan shows a victory sign as he is escorted by Correctional Services officers to a prison van for a court in Hong Kong on 28 May 2021.


More than 100 people, including Mr. Lai, have been charged under the security law, which carries up to life in jail.

Those handed jail terms on Friday are from the more moderate wing of Hong Kong’s democracy movement. Four were already serving jail sentences for taking part in protests.

Many have spent decades advocating non-violence in their fruitless campaign for universal suffrage.

Figo Chan, for example, was a key figure in the Civil Human Rights Front, the coalition that organized some of the largest rallies of 2019 when hundreds of thousands turned up.

Supporters chanted “Add oil!” – a Chinese phrase of encouragement – as the group was led into court on Friday.

At a mitigation hearing earlier in the week, Mr. Chan accused Hong Kong’s unelected leaders of failing to give citizens an avenue to voice their dissatisfaction.

“If the government listened to people’s demands, then it would not be necessary for the people to use violence to get the government to respond,” he told the court.

Lee Cheuk-yan, 63, said he had no regrets about the prospect of going to jail.

“For over 40 years, I have strived for democratic reform in China,” he told the court. “This is my unrequited love, the love for my country with such a heavy heart.”

China says the clampdown and security law is needed to return stability. It has dismissed the democratic demands and says the protests were instigated by “foreign forces” who want to undermine China.

Many Western nations say Beijing has shredded its promise that Hong Kong could maintain certain freedoms and autonomy under a “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement agreed before the city’s 1997 handover.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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