Occupy Central leaders receive sentences of up to 16 months in prison
by Paul Wang

The academics Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man were imprisoned. Pastor Chu Yu-ming received a suspended sentence was postponed due to his age and health. There is no ruling for MP Tania, who must be operated on for brain cancer within two weeks. Being "naive" in democracy and believing in the "one nation, two systems principle ". Benny Tai, a Protestant Christian: "I am at peace and full of hope".

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The three most high profile leaders of Occupy Central, one of the greatest experiences of civil disobedience in the history of the territory, were sentenced to 16 months in prison; six other collaborators were handed down lighter sentences.

Law professor Benny Tai and Sociology Professor Chan Kin-man, received 16 months and are already in prison. Pastor Chu Yiu-ming, 75, also sentenced to 16 months, was sentenced due to his age and health. All of them are convicted of conspiring to disturb public order and inciting others to this.

Other group members received eight-month prison sentences and hours of social work. According to parliamentarian Tanya Chan, 47, no sentence has been issued: her lawyer has mentioned her precarious state of health, given that she is suffering from brain cancer and should be operated on within two weeks.

The sentences were issued by Judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng of the West Kowloon court. He called the condemned "naive", who thought they could bring democracy "with a snap of their fingers" in the territory.

The Occupy Central movement broke out in September 2014 and continued in a sit-in that lasted almost three months, after Beijing erased requests for universal suffrage from the majority of the population of the territory, imposing a method of electing the chief executive from part of a committee (mostly chosen by Beijing) out of ​​a shortlist of candidates (chosen by Beijing).

Commenting on the verdict, Chan Kin-man pointed out that perhaps in fact they were "even more naive in believing in "one nation, two systems", the slogan with which Beijing has always promised a high degree of territorial autonomy.

Upon arrival at court, the defendants were greeted by democracy groups, with striking yellow umbrellas and T-shirts with the inscription: "I was not incited", meaning that the participation of over 800 thousand people at the sit-in was free and decided on a personal level.

Umbrellas have become the symbol of the movement, after many young people used it to protect themselves from police hydrants.

A pro-Beijing group was also present and shouted slogans like: "Now you have to pay".

Benny Tai is a Protestant Christian. Before entering the court, together with others present, he prayed and sang hymns. And commented. "I am at peace and full of hope".