Hong Kong – 3 former members of the Hong Kong group organized an annual rally to commemorate China’s 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Squarewas jailed for four and a half months on Saturday for failing to comply with a National Security Police request for information.
Chow Han Tong, 38, a prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and former vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Coalition, which supports China’s patriotic nationalist movement, was among those convicted by the magistrate’s court. .
The other two were Tan Ngoc Kwang and Tsui Hong Kwon.
Justice of the Peace Peter Lowe said that “national security is of great importance to the public interest and to the nation as a whole”, while the maximum sentence of imprisonment for the crimes charged was less than six months. handed over.
The now-disbanded Alliance was the main organizer of Hong Kong’s June 4 candlelight rally for victims of China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Each year, tens of thousands of people gather for the largest public commemoration of its kind in China.
After prosecutors applied for a “public interest immunity,” some key details of the case were redacted, including overseas organizations and individuals allegedly associated with the Alliance.
Before sentencing, Chow was defiant but criticized the “political” nature of the case she described and the court’s decision to withhold key facts.
“We will continue to do what we have always done: fight falsehood with truth, insult with dignity, secrecy with frankness, madness with reason, division with solidarity. We will fight these injustices wherever possible,” Chow said from the dock, interrupted several times by Mr. Low.
The Alliance was accused by prosecutor Ivan Cheung of being a “foreign agent” for an unidentified organization after allegedly receiving HK$20,000 (S$3,437) from the organization.
Defense attorney Philip Dykes said the “not knowing the identity” of an purported foreign government or entity is highly unusual and makes mitigation difficult given the foreign attorney’s allegations.
In handing down the verdict on March 4, Lo said prosecutors did not have to prove that the target entity was a “foreign agent” and that nondisclosure of materials did not undermine a fair trial. .
The National Security Act, which criminalizes acts including subversion and collusion with foreign powers, has been criticized by some Western governments as a means of stifling dissent.
The Hong Kong and Chinese governments say the law has brought stability since it was enacted in 2020 in response to mass pro-democracy protests in 2019.Reuters
https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/hong-kong-court-jails-3-members-of-tiananmen-vigil-group Hong Kong court imprisons three members of Tiananmen memorial group