World News

Joshua Wong, Democracy Advocate, Is Sentenced in Hong Kong

Posted January 16, 2018 11:31 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2018 11:37 p.m. EST

The Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong was sentenced to three months in prison on Wednesday for his role in a protest in 2014 demanding freer elections of the leader of the semiautonomous Chinese territory.

Wong had pleaded guilty to contempt of court for refusing to obey a court order to leave a protest site in the last days of demonstrations, known as the Umbrella Movement, that paralyzed parts of Hong Kong without winning any political concession from the Chinese government.

“They can lock up our bodies, but they cannot lock up our minds,” Wong, a leader of the political party Demosisto, told reporters outside the High Court in Hong Kong before his sentencing.

The prison term dealt the latest blow to Wong, who was sentenced in August to six months in prison after he was found guilty of unlawful assembly. The city’s highest court, the Court of Final Appeal, began hearing an appeal of that prison term on Tuesday.

Wong had served two months of his six-month sentence when the Court of Final Appeal granted him bail, pending an appeal.

In handing down the separate three-month sentence on Wednesday, Justice Andrew Chan of the High Court said the livelihood of ordinary citizens had been “adversely affected” by the protests in Mong Kok, a bustling commercial district, where Wong “played a leading role.”

“The court had to intervene and protect not just the right of the protesters but also the right to live of the vast majority of the people,” Chan wrote in his judgment.

The High Court also sentenced Raphael Wong, a leader of another pro-democracy party, the League of Social Democrats, to four months 15 days in prison. Fourteen other protesters were given lighter, suspended prison terms, which they will not be required to serve unless they commit a crime in the coming months.

The two Wongs, who are not related, were immediately taken into custody after the sentencing.