Jimmy Lai and Lee Cheuk-yan get two more months
The extra jail time comes on top of what already handed out yesterday in another case. Along with eight other pro-democracy figures, the two activists were convicted of taking part in anti-government demonstrations in 2019. For China, Lai, Benny Tai, and Joshua Wong are enemies of China.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Media mogul Jimmy Lai and former lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan have been sentenced to two additional months in prison. Previously, they were convicted of organising and taking part in a massive anti-government protest of August 2019 along with eight other pro-democracy leaders,
Yesterday West Kowloon District Court sentenced Lai to 14 months in prison: one year for his participation in the march of 18 August 2019 – when 1.7 million people defied a ban to demand the withdrawal of an extradition bill and denounce police brutality – and two months for taking part in a Christian prayer of protest on 31 August.
Lai is in already prison and waiting trial charged with threatening national security; yesterday prosecutors added two new charges related to this type of offence.
Judge Amanda Woodcock reduced the sentence in relation to the events of 31 August because of a guilty plea and poor health in the case of media magnate.
The court also imposed 14 months on Lee Cheuk-yan, the former president of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China and a veteran organiser of the memorial vigil for the victims of the Tiananmen massacre of 4 June 1989.
For the prayer of 31 August 2019, Judge Woodcock also penalised Yeung Sum with a suspended prison.
The other defendants were handed down sentences ranging between eight and 18 months; they include the “father of Hong Kong democracy” Martin Lee, a staunch Catholic like Lai and one of the founders of the Democratic Party; barrister Margaret Ng, a former lawmaker; former lawmakers Albert Ho, Cyd Ho and “long hair” Leung Kwok-hung (who received the longest sentence); trade unionist Leung Yiu-chung and former Democratic Party member Au Nok-hin. West Kowloon Court suspend the sentences for Lee, Ng, Albert Ho and Leung Yiu-chung.
According to legal analysts, the sentences imposed on the 10 pro-democracy activists are “disproportionate.”
The most serious issue is that Judge Woodcock ignored an earlier judgment by Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal which recognised the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully, as they did in the two aforementioned instances.
For most observers, the harshness of the sentencing stems from Beijing's desire to crush the main voices of dissent.
As Apple Daily reported today, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council and the Communist Party of China (CPC) asked the authorities of the former British colony to take legal action to have Lai and other pro-democracy leaders like Benny Tai and Joshua Wong pay for their “anti-Chinese” behaviour and for bringing chaos to the city.