Joshua Wong, one of Hong Kong’s best-known protest figures, and two other prominent activists were remanded in custody on Monday after pleading guilty for their role in protests in 2019.
The former British colony experienced its most serious political crisis last year since its handover to Beijing in 1997, with almost daily demonstrations denouncing China’s influence over the semi-autonomous region.
Despite the scale of this mobilization, marked by parades bringing together more than a million people, the Hong Kong executive, which is aligned with Beijing, had made no concessions to the demonstrators on the crucial question of the voting system .
And the authorities responded with a vigorous crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.
Joshua Wong, 24, is being sued along with two other famous dissidents, Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow, for a protest outside the Hong Kong Police Headquarters on June 21, 2019, around ten days after the protest began.
“We will continue to fight for freedom, and this is not the time to flatten out in front of Beijing or to surrender,” said to reporters on his arrival in court the man who in 2014 had been the face of the ” umbrellas ”.
Stays behind bars
“We have no regrets,” added Lam, 26.
Egg throwing, graffiti … The headquarters of the police and the neighborhood police stations had been targeted by the demonstrators who asked in particular for an independent investigation into the “violence” which they attributed to the police.
Mr. Wong pleaded guilty to inciting and organizing an illegal assembly. Mr Lam pleaded guilty to incitement, when Agnes Chow, 23, pleaded guilty to incitement and participation in the protest.
The three were remanded in custody pending the announcement of the court’s decision on December 2. Which means they are almost guaranteed to get jail time.
The court seised may not impose penalties exceeding three years’ imprisonment.
“Good luck to everyone,” said Joshua Wong, being taken away by the police.
Despite his youth, Mr. Wong has already spent time behind bars, he who is already a veteran of the political struggle.
He had cut his teeth at the age of 13 in the fight -lost- against a high speed line connecting Hong Kong and mainland China.
In 2011, he co-founded Scholarism, a small student group that will be at the forefront of the winning battle against the introduction of Chinese patriotism courses. At the age of 15, he went so far as to go on hunger strike under the windows of the local government.
MM. Lam and Chow were also involved in this movement.
But it was Mr. Wong’s commitment to the “Umbrella Movement” in 2014 that really made the world known about his youthful face, his bangs falling on thick black-rimmed glasses and, already, his extraordinary self-confidence. facing the cameras.
In addition to real universal suffrage, the demonstrators who had occupied central Hong Kong for 79 days demanded an end to China’s interference in Hong Kong, a territory supposed to enjoy autonomy until 2047.
Six years later, their fears materialized with the national security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong on June 30, waves of arrests, restriction of freedoms and departures into exile.
Mr. Wong, whose candidacies for the 2019 local elections and the upcoming legislative elections have been invalidated, is currently subject to several legal proceedings.
In addition to his involvement in the 2019 movement, he is notably prosecuted for having participated in June in the traditional annual vigil in memory of the repression of Tiananmen in 1989, which was for the first time banned, officially because of the coronavirus.