11/23/2020, 10.54
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam plead guilty: they face 5 years in prison

by Paul Wang

The three, former leaders of "Occupy Central", admit that they organized and incited a demonstration against the police on June 21, 2019, in the midst of opposition to the extradition law, which was then withdrawn by the government. Wong: "Generations of youth go from protests to prisons to safeguard liberty for the place that we were born." Chow: " I will try to handle this bravely." For Lam, the siege of the police district was "a necessary behaviour to fight for democracy".

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Three young pro-democracy activists have pleaded guilty to involvement in demonstrations against the police and the government and face up to 5 years in prison. Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam appeared before the West Kowloon court this morning and admitted their guilt in contributing to a siege outside the police headquarters on June 21, 2019.

Following demonstrations against the extradition law, thousands of people surrounded the headquarters of the police for many hours. Wong acknowledged that he had organized an unauthorized rally; Chow and Lam for encouraging participation.

Agnes Chow had already pleaded guilty; Wong and Lam originally pleaded innocent, but today they decided to plead guilty. Judge Wong Sze-lai has ordered their detention in custody until December 2, when the sentence will be handed down.

Before entering the court, Wong stated that he hopes that their trial and conviction will attract attention from a "criminal" justice system, because it is "manipulated by Beijing".

He added “Under the continuing crackdown against the city’s citizens, generations of youth go from protests to prisons to safeguard liberty for the place that we were born.”

"What we are doing now is to explain the values of freedom to the world through our compassion to whom we love, so much that we are ready to sacrifice the freedom of our own. I am prepared for the slim chance of walking free."

For his part, Lam explained that the siege of the police district was "a necessary behaviour to fight for democracy".

Agnes Chow said she was prepared to go to jail, even if "a little scared". On her Facebook page she wrote: ““If I get sent to prison, it will be the first time ever for me. However, compared to a lot of my friends, I know I am shouldering very little. I will try to handle this bravely.”

Wong, Lam and Chow are among the protagonists of the "Occupy Central" sit-in, to demand full democracy for Hong Kong which lasted almost three months. They are also among the founders of the Demosisto party which, in addition to claiming autonomy for the territory, has often been accused of demanding the independence of Hong Kong from China.

The party was dissolved hours before Beijing's new national security law was enforced on the ground. The law prohibits and punishes acts and activities of secession, subversion, terrorism and collaboration with foreign forces that endanger national security.

This law was passed to stop the demonstrations that had lasted almost a year and which had begun to challenge the extradition law - then withdrawn by the government. The have since become a movement for full democracy in Hong Kong. On the fringes of the movement there have also been vandalism and violence by radical groups. Thousands of people, mostly young people, have been arrested since the security law was passed.

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