CNA Staff, Nov 23, 2020 / 14:30 pm
Three pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, including Catholic university student Agnes Chow, pled guilty on Monday for their roles in an “illegal assembly” protest last year in front of a police station.
Chow, 23, along with Joshua Wong, 24, and Ivan Lam, 26, pled guilty on Monday and received their sentences. The three were arrested in August 2019 for a protest the previous June, and were arrested again this year.
Initially, only Chow was expected to plead guilty. The South China Morning Post reported that Lam and Wong decided “last minute” to change their pleas from not-guilty to guilty.
Wong said he hoped that their prison sentences would serve to bring attention to the actions of the Chinese government, which has imposed sweeping restrictions on free speech in Hong Kong following the new National Security Law brought into force in July.
Speaking before his plea on Monday, Wong criticized the “continuing crackdown against [Hong Kong’s] citizens,” saying that this meant that young people were going “from protests to prisons to safeguard liberty” for Hong Kong.
“Neither prison bars nor election bans, nor any other arbitrary power will stop us from activism,” he said. Wong and Chow were among the co-founders of a now-defunct pro-democracy political party in Hong Kong. The party ceased operation upon the enactment of the National Security Law.
Both Wong and Chow were barred from running in separate elections for seats on the Legislative Council of Hong Kong for “sedition.”
Chow said she was “feeling uneasy” about the possibility of being sent to prison for the first time, and said that the sentence meant she had an “uncertain future.”