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Hong Kong independence activist released from prison

Prominent Hong Kong independence activist Edward Leung was released from prison on Wednesday after serving a four-year sentence for taking part in a protest in 2016.

The 30-year-old activist posted a message on his Facebook page saying he had been released from Shek Pik prison before dawn and was at home with his family.

“After four years, I want to cherish this precious time to be reunited with my family and resume a normal life with them,” he wrote while also thanking his supporters for their care and love.

Leung first came to prominence in 2016 as a spokesperson for Hong Kong Indigenous, a group that has called for maintaining a separate identity for Hong Kong and a complete break with mainland China. He took part in the so-called Fishball Revolution protest against a police crackdown on unlicensed street food vendors in the Mong Kok district, which turned violent.

Leung was convicted in 2018 of assaulting a police officer and participating in a riot in connection with the Mong Kok incident and sentenced to six years in prison. According to local media, the sentence was reduced by two years for good behavior.

He coined the slogan “Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” for his campaign for a seat in the city’s legislature in 2016, which was halted when he was disqualified for his pro-independence stance. . The slogan has since been banned under the draconian national security law imposed by Beijing in 2020 in response to massive and violent protests the previous year.

Hundreds of pro-democracy activists have been convicted and sentenced to long prison terms under the law, which prohibits succession, subversion, terrorism and foreign collusion.

Some information for this report comes from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse.

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Independence activist

Hong Kong independence activist Edward Leung released from prison and ordered to remain silent — Radio Free Asia

Edward Leung, a prominent Hong Kong politician who advocated ‘separation’ between the former British colony and mainland China, was released after serving a six-year prison sentence for ‘rioting’ during the unrest of 2016 in Mong Kok.

A former spokesperson for the now disbanded Hong Kong indigenous group, Leung was released from Shek Pik prison on Lantau Island around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

“I was released this morning and returned home safely with my family,” Leung said in a post on his Facebook page.

“As required by law, I am subject to a supervision order upon my release,” he wrote. “I have to lay low and deactivate my social media accounts.”

His family later issued a warning to supporters not to try to visit Leung and announced the deletion of Leung’s Facebook account, which was unavailable Wednesday evening local time.

Leung was sentenced to six years in prison in 2018 for “rioting” and “assaulting a police officer” during the 2016 “Fishball Revolution” clashes in Mong Kok.

Hong Kong lawyer and former lawmaker Siu Tsz-man said supervision orders are sometimes issued to released prisoners involved in violent crimes, including murder and manslaughter, and require the former prisoner to remain in contact with surveillance officers and to stay in a stable residence.

But Siu said the order to stay out of the spotlight was unprecedented.

“I’ve never heard of this before,” Siu said. “My staff have never heard of a supervision order under which the person is not allowed to give interviews to the media.”

Siu declined to say whether the order was appropriate without knowing the details of the case.

“The purpose of a supervision order is not to confine someone to a certain place and not let them go,” he said.

Some have drawn parallels between Leung’s release and the continued checks on released political prisoners in mainland China.

Hong Kong news commentator Johnny Lau said the treatment of prominent Chinese dissidents has varied greatly in the past, depending on the level of political sensitivity of their cases as perceived by the Communist Party of China (CCP). ) in power.

Maintaining stability

Mainland human rights lawyer Wang Yu said mainland Chinese authorities often negotiate terms with released dissidents, including telling them to shut up after their release.

“It can be done through the detention center, the courts, the local police department or the state security police, or even neighborhood committees,” Wang told RFA. “Anyone can be commissioned as a stability keeping officer.”

“These agreements may or may not involve something in writing.”

Fellow rights lawyer Bao Longjun said Leung’s experience shows that Hong Kong has gradually moved away from the rule of law.

“The Hong Kong government’s continued expansion of how it interprets and implements [existing laws] seriously violated the rule of law and the interpretation of freedom of expression as granted by the constitution,” Bao told RFA.

Video footage of the riots showed a large crowd throwing bricks and other objects at riot police, who responded with pepper spray and batons, injuring an unknown number of people. Others set fire to debris in the street, while business owners reported property damage.

Judge Anthea Pang said in delivering her sentencing that “political pleas” could never justify violence. Leung, a by-election candidate for the localist group Hong Kong Indigenous at the time, said he went to the scene in an attempt to act as a buffer zone in the clashes, but later admitted to giving in to anger.

Hong Kong’s former colonial governor, Lord Patten of Barnes, criticized Leung’s sentencing as politically motivated at the time, saying public order legislation was used politically under the CCP regime to mete out extreme punishments. to Democratic politicians and other activists.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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Independence activist

Hong Kong independence activist Edward Leung released from prison

Hong Kong activist Edward Leung, who coined the now-banned slogan “Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time”, was released from prison after spending four years behind bars for a 2016 protest.

Mr. Leung was a prominent independence activist and spokesperson for Hong Kong Indigenous, an independence group in the city that was outspoken about “localism” and the need to preserve a distinct identity in Hong Kong.

In 2018, the 30-year-old activist was found guilty of assaulting a police officer and participating in riots during what is now known as the Fishball Revolution.

Edward Leung coined the now-banned slogan ‘Free Hong Kong, revolution of our time’ (AP)

The unrest began when authorities attempted to crack down on unlicensed hawkers selling street food during the 2016 Lunar New Year holiday in Mong Kok, but were met with protesters who objected to their actions as an attack against local traditions.

Originally sentenced to six years, Mr Leung had his sentence reduced by two years for good behavior, according to local media.

Mr Leung’s release comes amid a crackdown on political dissent in Hong Kong, with authorities arresting the majority of Hong Kong’s outspoken pro-democracy activists over the past two years.

Many of the city’s prominent activists are currently behind bars or have fled abroad to pursue their activism.

In a statement posted to his Facebook page early Wednesday morning, Mr Leung said he had been released from prison and was back with his family.

Edward Leung supporters
Fans pictured in 2019 hold a banner with a photo of Leung as they shout slogans outside the Hong Kong High Court (AP)

“As required by law, I am under a supervision order upon my release,” he wrote in the post, adding that he would stop using social media and not take any interviews or visits. with the media.

“After four years, I want to cherish this precious time to reunite with my family and resume a normal life with them,” Mr. Leung said, before thanking his supporters for their care and love.

He is known for coining the slogan “Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” for his election campaign, when he tried to run for a seat in the Legislative Assembly in 2016. He was later disqualified.

Shek Pik Prison in Hong Kong
Shek Pik prison in Hong Kong (AP)

The phrase later became a popular protest slogan during the 2019 protests, but authorities have since banned it, saying it had secessionist overtones that are illegal under the national security law that was implemented in 2020.

The law prohibits secession, subversion, terrorism, and foreign collusion to intervene in city affairs.

Mr. Leung advocated a so-called forceful resistance against political violence in his campaigns, which was seen as a polarizing opinion and drew opposition from the city’s more traditional pro-democracy camp.

Crowd scenes outside a prison
Supporters surround a police bus carrying political activist Edward Leung as it leaves the High Court, after Leung was sentenced to six years in prison in October 2019 (AP)

However, his stance of a more active form of resistance also caught the attention of younger voters, and many of his ideas, such as “leaderless” protests, were later used during months of anti-government protests in 2019.

In a post on Mr. Leung’s Facebook page on Tuesday – a day before his release – his family urged supporters to let Mr. Leung “find his family” and urged supporters to prioritize their own safety.

The message also said that, following a legal notice, Mr. Leung’s Facebook page would be taken down and the content would be removed on January 19 to protect him.

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Independence activist

Hong Kong independence activist Leung released from prison

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong activist Edward Leung, who coined the now-banned slogan “Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time,” was released from prison on Wednesday after serving four years behind bars for a 2016 protest. .

Leung was a prominent independence activist and spokesperson for Hong Kong Indigenous, an independence group in the city that was outspoken about “localism” and the need to preserve a distinct identity in Hong Kong.

In 2018, the 30-year-old activist was found guilty of assaulting a police officer and participating in riots during what is now known as the Fishball Revolution. The unrest began when authorities attempted to crack down on unlicensed hawkers selling street food during the 2016 Lunar New Year holiday in Mong Kok, but were met with protesters who objected to their actions as an attack against local traditions.

Originally sentenced to six years in prison, Leung had his sentence reduced by two years for good behavior, according to local media.

Leung’s release comes amid a crackdown on political dissent in Hong Kong, with authorities arresting the majority of Hong Kong’s outspoken pro-democracy activists over the past two years. Many of the city’s prominent activists are currently behind bars or have fled abroad to pursue their activism.

In a statement posted to his Facebook page early Wednesday morning, Leung said he had been released from prison and was back with his family.

“As required by law, I am under a supervision order upon my release,” he wrote in the post, adding that he would stop using social media and not take any interviews or visits. with the media.

“After four years, I want to cherish this precious time to be reunited with my family and resume a normal life with them,” Leung said, before thanking his supporters for their care and love.

Leung is known for coining the slogan “Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time” for his election campaign, when he tried to run for a seat in the Legislative Assembly in 2016. He was later disqualified.

The phrase later became a popular protest slogan during the 2019 protests, but authorities have since banned the slogan, saying it had secessionist overtones which are illegal under the National Security Law which was implemented in 2020. The law prohibits secession, subversion, terrorism, and foreign collusion to intervene in city affairs.

Leung advocated a so-called forceful resistance against political violence in his campaigns, which was seen as a polarizing opinion and drew opposition from the city’s more traditional pro-democracy camp.

However, his stance of a more active form of resistance also caught the attention of younger voters, and many of his ideas, such as “leaderless” protests, were later used during months of anti-government protests in 2019.

In a post on Leung’s Facebook page on Tuesday – a day before his release – Leung’s family urged supporters to let Leung “find his family” and urged supporters to prioritize their own safety.

The post also said that, following a legal notice, Leung’s Facebook page would be taken down and the content would be removed on January 19 to protect him.

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Independence activist

Hong Kong independence activist jailed for secession | New

Tony Chung, 20, is the youngest person sentenced under the new law that has crushed dissent in Hong Kong.

A young Hong Kong democracy activist has been sentenced to three and a half years behind bars after pleading guilty to secession under the city’s sweeping national security law.

With Tuesday’s conviction, Tony Chung, 20, is now the youngest person convicted under the law, which has crushed dissent in Hong Kong and transformed the territory.

Earlier this month he pleaded guilty to one count of secession and one count of money laundering, but said he had “nothing to be ashamed of”.

Chung was previously the organizer of Studentlocalism, a small group he started five years ago as a high school student to advocate for Hong Kong’s independence from China.

Separation from China was a minority view in Hong Kong at the time, although calls for autonomy were more vocal in the massive pro-democracy protests two years ago.

Beijing imposed security law on Hong Kong in response to protests, which at times turned violent, and Studentlocalism was dissolved hours before the legislation took effect.

Authorities accused Chung of continuing to operate the group with the help of foreign activists and of soliciting donations through PayPal.

Prosecutors said Chung’s group posted more than 1,000 social media posts that included calls to “get rid of the Chinese Communist colonial rule” and “build a republic of Hong Kong.”

More than 150 orders

Some of the posts cited by prosecutors predated the imposition of the security law, although authorities had said the law would not be retroactive.

On Tuesday, Stanley Chan, one of a panel of judges selected by the government to try national security cases, said Chung’s criminal intent was “clear for all to see” on social media. , during interviews, in street kiosks and in schools.

“He actively organized, planned and implemented activities to separate the country,” the judge said.

Chung has already spent more than a year in detention after his arrest in October 2020.

He was arrested by plainclothes police in a cafe across from the US consulate, where he is said to have planned to seek asylum.

The security law covers anything the authorities deem to be subversion, “terrorism” or collusion with foreign forces.

Chung initially faced an additional charge of sedition and another count of money laundering, but they were suspended following a plea bargain.

In another case last December, Chung was jailed for four months for illegal assembly and insulting the Chinese national flag.

Four other men have so far been convicted in separate cases under the security law – mainly for their political views.

More than 150 people have been arrested under the law, and nearly half of them have been charged.

Bail is often denied, and guilty pleas are a way to reduce both the final sentence and the legal costs of a lengthy court battle.

Most Democratic politicians are now in prison or in self-exile. Dozens of civil society organizations have withdrawn and some international rights groups have left the city.

Chinese and Hong Kong authorities deny that the security law violates individual rights and say the legislation was needed to restore stability after the protests.

The former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, with Beijing promising a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years.

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Independence activist

Hong Kong’s youngest independence activist, 20, jailed for secession

Chung has already spent more than a year in detention after his arrest in October 2020. (File)

Hong Kong:

A young Hong Kong democracy activist was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on Tuesday after pleading guilty to secession under the city’s sweeping national security law.

Tony Chung, 20, is the youngest person to be sentenced under the new law that crushed dissent in Hong Kong and transformed the once outspoken international business hub.

Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to one count of secession and one count of money laundering, but defiantly said he had “nothing to be ashamed of”.

Chung was previously the chairman of Student Localism, a small group he set up five years ago as a high school student to defend Hong Kong’s independence from China.

Separation from China was a minority view in Hong Kong then, although calls for autonomy became more vocal in huge and often violent protests for democracy two years ago.

Beijing imposed security law on Hong Kong in response to the protests, and Student Localism was dissolved hours before it went into effect.

Authorities accused Chung of continuing to exploit the group with the help of foreign activists and of soliciting donations through PayPal – the basis of the money laundering charge.

Prosecutors said Chung’s group had posted more than 1,000 social media posts, including calls to “get rid of the Chinese Communist colonial regime” and “build a republic of Hong Kong.”

Some of the posts cited by prosecutors predate the enactment of the Security Law, although Hong Kong officials have promised the law will not be retroactive.

On Tuesday, Stanley Chan, one of a panel of judges selected by the government to try national security cases, said Chung’s criminal intent was “clear for all to see” on social media. , in interviews, in street kiosks and in schools.

Chung has already spent more than a year in detention after his arrest in October 2020.

He was arrested by plainclothes police at a cafe across from the US Consulate, where he was considering seeking asylum.

The security law covers anything the authorities deem to be subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces.

Chung initially faced an additional charge of sedition and another count of money laundering, but they were suspended following a plea bargain.

In another case last December, Chung was jailed for four months for illegal assembly and insulting the Chinese national flag.

Four other men have so far been convicted in separate cases under the security law, mainly for their political views.

More than 150 people have been arrested under the legislation, about half of whom have been charged.

Bail is often refused, and guilty pleas are a way to reduce both the final sentence and the legal costs of a lengthy court battle.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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Independence activist

Hong Kong independence activist sentenced to prison under national security law

A 20-year-old activist who pleaded for Hong Kong’s independence from China was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison on Tuesday for breaking the country’s national security law.

Tony Chung pleaded guilty to secession under the law, which took effect in June 2020, according to the Washington Post.

Hong Kong’s Basic Law – in fact, its constitution – claims to enshrine freedom of expression. But under the new national security law, a speech determined to undermine the Chinese government may result in a charge of life in prison.

Chung’s crime, which he committed as a teenager, was completely non-violent and was carried out only through slogans, social media posts and speeches, the Post reported.

“Secession does not need to involve real violence,” Justice Stanley Chan said, according to the Post. “The penalty should deter future acts. “

Chung is the third person to face a prison term for violating the law and the youngest to be sentenced under it.

His sentence is slightly reduced from that previously imposed on Tong Ying-kit, 24, and Ma Chun-man, 31, due to his guilty plea.

” I plead guilty. I have no shame in my heart, ”Chung said earlier this month, according to the Post.

As a high school student, Chung was a co-founder of Studentlocalism, a group of student activists who advocated for Hong Kong independence. The group disbanded just before the national security law was passed, with officials saying it would not be applied retroactively, according to the Post.

But Chung was one of the first people to be arrested under it, with officials pointing to the manifesto and clothing produced by Studentlocalism in support of the charge. According to the Post, prosecutors justified this by claiming that Chung continued to violate the law after it came into effect.

The newspaper noted that Chung had previously attempted to seek asylum at the US consulate in Hong Kong, but was apprehended before his arrival. He has since been held without bail.

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Independence activist

Hong Kong independence activist jailed for secession

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Hong Kong (AFP) – A young democracy activist in Hong Kong was sentenced to three and a half years behind bars on Tuesday after pleading guilty to secession under the city’s sweeping national security law.

Tony Chung, 20, is the youngest person to be convicted under the new law that has crushed dissent in Hong Kong and transformed the once outspoken international business hub.

Earlier this month he pleaded guilty to one count of secession and one count of money laundering, but defiantly said he had “nothing to be ashamed of”.

Chung was previously the organizer of Student Localism, a small group he started five years ago as a high school student to advocate for Hong Kong independence from China.

Separation from China was then a fringe minority view in Hong Kong, although calls for autonomy became more vocal during huge and often violent democracy protests two years ago.

Beijing imposed the security law in Hong Kong in response to these protests and student localism dissolved hours before it took effect.

Authorities accused Chung of continuing to operate the group with the help of foreign activists and of soliciting donations through PayPal – the basis of the money laundering charge.

Prosecutors said Chung’s group posted more than 1,000 social media posts that included calls to “get rid of Chinese communist colonial rule” and “build a Hong Kong republic.”

Some of the posts cited by prosecutors dated back to before the security law was enacted, although Hong Kong officials promised the law would not be retroactive.

On Tuesday, Stanley Chan, a member of a panel of government-selected judges to try national security cases, said Chung’s criminal intent was “clear to all” on social media, in interviews, in street kiosks and in schools.

Chung has already spent more than a year in detention after his arrest in October 2020.

He was arrested by plainclothes police at a cafe opposite the US consulate, where he reportedly intends to seek asylum.

The security law targets anything authorities deem subversive, terrorist or colluding with foreign forces.

Chung initially faced an additional charge of sedition and another count of money laundering, but they were shelved following a plea bargain.

In a separate case last December, Chung was jailed for four months for unlawful assembly and insulting the Chinese national flag.

Four other men have so far been convicted in separate cases under the Security Act, mainly for their political views.

More than 150 people have been arrested under the legislation, about half of whom have been charged.

Bail is often denied and guilty pleas are a way to reduce both the final sentence and the court costs of a lengthy court battle.

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Independence activist

Hong Kong police quote independence activist Gandhi in tweet, internet users are aware of the irony

Hong Kong police quoted passive resistance leader Mahatma Gandhi in a tweet calling for non-violence, the irony of which was not lost on netizens who pointed out that the activist had fought for it. independence of India.

In a tweet posted on Saturday, police shared a quote from the leader – who guided India to independence after some 200 years of British rule – that non-violence is the “greatest force available to the nation. ‘humanity’, and statistics showing the rise in violence. crime in Hong Kong over the past year.

“Taking into account 3.2% year-on-year [increase] in violent crime in Hong Kong in [the first half of 2021], let’s make #violence a thing of the past in every corner of [the world]”, We read in the tweet filled with emojis.
Calling for independence in Hong Kong can result in a life sentence under the National Security Act, which criminalizes acts considered secession.

“Free Hong Kong, revolution of our time”, a popular protest slogan chanted during the anti-extradition movement in 2019, is now considered illegal. The government said last year that the term had connotations with Hong Kong independence.

Read more: Hong Kong government accidentally encourages terrorism with poorly designed leaflet

On Twitter, Internet users were quick to laugh at the police tweet.

“Tell me that you know very little about Mahatma Gandhi without telling me that you know very little about Mahatma Gandhi”, a person wrote.

Others responded with images of police firing pepper spray at protesters from close range and hitting protesters with batons.

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Independence activist

HONK KONG Pro-Hong Kong independence activist turns 12

Louis Lo is guilty of keeping highly explosive material. His sentence is the most severe imposed due to activities related to the 2019 government protests. Judge Andrew Chan said the accused sought to promote separation from China.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The High Court today handed down a 12-year sentence against a member of a now-disbanded independence group. It is the most severe sentence imposed on anyone for activities related to the 2019 pro-democracy protests.

Louis Lo was convicted of keeping one kilogram of high-quality explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and 10 Molotov cocktails in a studio inside a factory building. The 29-year-old pleaded guilty to concealing the explosive material.

The Hong Kong National Front, the independence organization in which Lo was active, has always denied any involvement in the affair.

According to Judge Andrew Chan, the accused planned to use explosives to sow “fear and terror among the people”.

Its aim was to promote the separation of the former British colony from the People’s Republic of China during the 2019 anti-government protests. The offense falls under the Chinese National Security Law of 2020.

Although prosecutors failed to link Lo to the protest movement, Judge Chan was convinced that the pro-independence material found in Lo’s industrial studio, apartment, and cell phone was sufficient to establish the claim. mobile.

Lo’s conviction comes a week after this of 10 pro-democracy activists, including media mogul Jimmy Lai, who were convicted of organizing and participating in anti-government protests in August 2019.

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Independence activist

Hong Kong independence activist jailed for explosives lab

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A now missing former member of a Hong Kong pro-independence group was jailed on Friday for possessing explosives during pro-democracy protests that swept through the financial hub nearly two years ago.

Louis Lo, 29, pleaded guilty to storing TATP, a high explosive discovered during a police raid on an industrial building in July 2019. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

At the time of the raid, Hong Kong was rocked by huge and often violent protests calling for greater democracy and police accountability.

China has dismissed the protests and responded with a broad crackdown on dissent in the restive city.

Lo was a member of the Hong Kong National Front, a small fringe group that advocated independence and has since disbanded.

At the time, police said they discovered a homemade explosives lab during the raid where Lo was arrested, alongside approximately one kilogram of TATP.

TATP requires skill to make, but has been used in a number of major terrorist attacks, including the London bombings in 2005 and hotels and churches in Sri Lanka in 2019.

Books and leaflets advocating independence were also found in Lo’s possession.

At sentencing, High Court Judge Andrew Chan described Lo as the “mastermind” of the explosives lab.

“This court does not know what the TATP was intended to be used for, but again, I know it has the capacity to inflict very serious damage to the lives and property of the general public,” Chan said.

“This court would be failing in its duty to the public if it did not impose a very heavy and dissuasive sentence,” he added.

During the 2019 protests, huge crowds of hundreds of thousands marched for democracy.

Violent clashes between protesters and riot police have escalated over the months.

Towards the later stages, police said they found a handful of explosive devices.

While independence has only been a fringe political vision in Hong Kong since the city’s handover to China in 1997, popular protest slogans such as “Free Hong Kong, the revolution of our times” have seen by Beijing as an unacceptable challenge.

Last year, China imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong banning any act considered subversion, secession, collusion and terrorism.

The broad wording and enforcement of the law stifled dissent, and scores of opposition figures were arrested or fled.

Almost everyone charged under the law so far is being prosecuted for holding political opinions now considered illegal.

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Independence activist

Hong Kong independence activist jailed for explosives lab, World News

A former member of a Hong Kong independence group who is now missing was jailed on Friday for possession of explosives during pro-democracy protests that swept through the financial center nearly two years ago.

Louis Lo, 29, pleaded guilty to storing TATP, a powerful explosive discovered during a police raid on an industrial building in July 2019. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

At the time of the raid, Hong Kong was rocked by huge and often violent protests calling for greater democracy and police accountability.

China has rejected the protests and responded with a broad crackdown on dissent in the troubled city.

Lo was a member of the Hong Kong National Front, a small fringe group that advocated independence and has since disbanded.

At the time, police said they discovered a homemade explosives lab during the raid where Lo was arrested, along with around a kilogram of TATP.

TATP requires skill to manufacture, but has been used in a number of major terrorist attacks, including the bombings in London in 2005 and on hotels and churches in Sri Lanka in 2019.

Books and leaflets advocating independence were also found in Lo’s possession.

Upon sentencing, High Court Judge Andrew Chan described Lo as the “mastermind” of the explosives lab.

“This tribunal doesn’t know what the TATP was for, but again, I know it has the capacity to inflict very serious damage to the life and property of the general public,” Chan said.

“This court would be failing in its duty to the public if it did not impose a very heavy and dissuasive sentence,” he added.

In the 2019 protests, huge crowds of hundreds of thousands marched for democracy.

Violent clashes between protesters and riot police escalated over the months.

Towards the later stages, police said they found a handful of explosive devices.

Also read: “Wuhan virus” and the difficulties of being a pro-Chinese lawmaker in Hong Kong

While independence has only been a marginal political point of view in Hong Kong since the city’s handover to China in 1997, popular protest slogans such as “Free Hong Kong, revolution of our time.” were seen by Beijing as an unacceptable challenge.

Last year, China imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong banning anything deemed to be subversion, secession, collusion, and terrorism.

The broad wording and application of the law stifled dissent, and large numbers of opposition figures were arrested or at large.

Almost all of those charged under the law to date are being prosecuted for holding political views now considered illegal.

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Independence activist

Hong Kong independence activist Andy Chan acquitted of assaulting police, says case is evidence of “indiscriminate arrests”

Former leader of the now banned Hong Kong National Party, Andy Chan, was acquitted on Saturday of two counts of assaulting police officers. The pro-independence leader was also cleared of charges of illegal assembly linked to a demonstration in Sheung Shui last year.

A magistrate at the West Kowloon Magistrate’s Court handed down the judgment citing the prosecution’s inability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Chan was the person identified in footage taken during the protest last July.

Banned Hong Kong National Independence Party founder Andy Chan addresses media outside of West Kowloon magistrates ?? Hong Kong court on December 12, 2020. Photo: Daniel Suen / AFP.

“This case shows us that there have been indiscriminate arrests and accusations, and I am fortunate to have been acquitted,” Chan told reporters after leaving the courthouse. “But many others are already harassed by these indiscriminate arrests and accusations, even if these prosecutions are ultimately unsuccessful.”

“No matter where we are Hong Kongers, in prison, in the UK, in the US or in Hong Kong anywhere, we have to persist and survive,” he said. “I hope that any Hong Konger in any corner of the world will survive and continue to work towards our common goal for the future.”

“Today, I think Hong Kong is not at its worst. We’re far enough from the worst, ”Chan said. “How could there be intact eggs under an overturned nest?” Everyone in Hong Kong will have to face their tribulations, it is my belief. ”

Chan was charged with participating in an illegal gathering in Sheung Shui on July 13, 2019. He was also charged with hitting a police sergeant’s helmet from behind.

In a 24-page decision, a magistrate ruled that the prosecution had failed to identify beyond a reasonable doubt that the individuals shown in the footage taken at the protest were the same person. Since both individuals wore generic black clothing with everything but their eyebrows, glasses and ears covered, the magistrate ruled that there were not enough distinct and identifiable features to identify them.

Chan is the founder of the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), which was the first company to be banned under the Companies Ordinance since the 1997 handover.

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Hong Kong police accuse independence activist Tony Chung of ‘secession’ – Radio Free Asia

Authorities in Hong Kong have accused 19-year-old independence activist Tony Chung of “secession” under a draconian national security law that went into effect in the city on July 1.

“Chung has been formally charged with one count of ‘secession’, one count of” conspiracy to publish seditious material “, as well as two cases of” money laundering “,” the group said. now disbanded Chung activists Studentlocalism on his Facebook page.

Chung appeared in West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning, where his application for bail was denied, the statement said.

Chung was arrested on October 27 for allegedly violating Article 21 of the National Security Law, which prohibits anyone from providing assistance to anyone who breaks the law and which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.

He is accused of “actively organizing, planning, implementing or participating in acts aimed at dividing the country and undermining national unity in Hong Kong from July 1 to October 27 this year, along with others.” , according to the charges against him.

The money laundering charges relate to a crowdfunding campaign by Studentlocalism, which called for donations only from those who supported Hong Kong’s independence, and payments totaling nearly HK $ 700,000 made to the bank account Chung staff between January 2018 and July 2020.

Chung is also accused of conspiring to publish seditious publications in Hong Kong between November 30, 2018 and June 9 this year, before the National Security Act came into force.

After the hearing, Chung was taken to the infamous Pik Uk Correctional Facility, where he will remain in detention for at least the next 10 weeks pending another hearing in January, the group said.

The judge’s decision to deny bail came after the prosecution claimed Chung was likely to reoffend and run away if released, given that the alleged offenses took place while he was out on bail pending a different charge.

Four under arrest

Chung was one of four youths arrested by Hong Kong police on July 26 on suspicion of “secession” under the National Security Act, which came into force on July 1.

The arrested persons, aged 16 to 21, were taken into custody during raids in the districts of the New Territories of Yuen Long, Shatin and Tuen Mun, suspected of having “organized and incited secessionist activities”.

Police said they were suspected of posting ads online calling on people to fight to establish a “Hong Kong nation”, to declare that they will use whatever means necessary to achieve this goal and to call for the union of separatist groups.

Studentlocalism was dissolved before the law was implemented, but as the posts were published after the new law came into force, they fell under articles of the law prohibiting “incitement” to secessionist activity, he said. police said at the time.

Chung and two other activists were separately arrested by the national security police on Tuesday after Chung was refused permission to enter the US consulate, where he is said to have planned to seek political asylum. The other two arrested, former studentlocalism members William Chan and Yanni Ho, have been released on bail.

Hours later, when news of Chung’s arrest became public, four more activists entered the consulate, but were told that they could not be protected and were finally ordered to leave. one of them later told Voice of America (VOA).

News commentator Liu Ruishao said that the fact that Chung has been charged means authorities expect to make an example of him.

“The fact that they are making such accusations means that they (…) expect a result that will be in favor of the government,” Liu said. “In fact, it will probably have the effect of restricting everyone’s behavior in the future.”

“The effect of [such a prosecution] will be magnified, which means that a much larger portion of the population is actually targeted, “Liu said.” That’s what they want to achieve: a crippling effect where people limit their own behavior. “

Call for release

Rights groups denounced Chung’s arrest and the charges against him as a violation of his right to free speech.

The overseas-based Chinese Network of Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) called for Chung’s immediate release, in a statement posted on its website Thursday.

“The charges against Chung, a former member of the Studentlocalism group, relate to posts he made on social media platforms and his advocacy, in violation of his fundamental rights to freedom of expression and association, ”the group said.

Chung is the second person to be charged under the National Security Law since it came into force. The first was Tong Ying-kit, who rode his motorbike among a group of police officers during a July 1 protest while carrying a flag bearing the popular protest slogan “Free Hong Kong, Revolutionize Now!”

“The National Security Law, imposed in Hong Kong by the Chinese legislature on June 30, criminalizes the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly under the pretext that non-violent speech or behavior can ‘put endangering national security, ”the CHRD said.

He called for an independent international review, led by the United Nations, of human rights violations in China.

Broken promises

Under the 1997 handover agreement, Hong Kong was promised to maintain its traditional freedoms of expression and association, as well as universal suffrage.

But Beijing’s decision to exclude fully democratic elections in 2014, its insistence on the prosecution and disqualification of key opposition figures, and its subsequent imposition of the national security law following mass popular protests against declining freedoms throughout 2019 have shown that the ruling Chinese Communist Party has no intention of keeping those promises.

The loosely-worded new security law threatens anyone who criticizes Chinese or Hong Kong authorities anywhere in the world.

The dreaded Chinese State Security Police have now established a seat in the city to enforce the law, while the government has warned that slogans linked to last year’s protest movement, including “Free Hong Kong, do the revolution now! “, will come under the mandate of the law. .

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) earlier said the law would be “devastating” for the protection of human rights in the city.

It created specialized secret security agencies, denied the right to a fair trial, granted expanded new powers to the police, increased restrictions on civil society and the media, and weakened judicial oversight, the group said in a statement. report published on its website.

The law will also affect the right to education and freedom of information, opinion and expression in schools, as political statements and discussions are prohibited in city classrooms and the books of prominent figures. -Democracy are being removed from its public libraries, HRW said. .

Reported by Lu Xi and Man Hoi-tsan for the Cantonese and Mandarin services of FRG. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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Independence activist

Conviction of independence activist draws red line for press freedom in Hong KongGlobal Voices

Foreign correspondents club. Hong Kong government photo via HKFP.

This article is a summary of reports published between August 4 and 10, 2018 on Hong Kong Free Press. The reissue is based on a partnership agreement.

A recent war of words between the former Hong Kong managing director and the local club of foreign correspondents shows how Beijing is forcing Hong Kong journalists, local and international, to respect its political red line.

The incident began when the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) announced on July 30 that political party leader Andy Chan Ho Tin would give a talk at the Club on August 14, entitled “Hong Kong Nationalism: A Politically Incorrect Guide on Hong Kong under Chinese Rule ”.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China with more economic and personal freedoms than the mainland, a configuration known as “One country, two systems.” In recent years, Beijing has pressured Hong Kong to pass new laws that strengthen the “One Country” part of the principle.

Shortly afterwards, a representative from the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s commissioner’s office in Hong Kong visited the FCC and urged them to reconsider the decision.

Chan is the chairman of the Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), which advocates for Hong Kong’s full independence from China. Last month, the Hong Kong Police Company Registration Department issued a legal recommendation to the Security Secretary to ban HKNP as a political party. Quoting Section 8 (1) (a) of the Hong Kong Companies Ordinance, the department said it would be “in the interest of national security, public safety, public order, protection of the liberty and rights of others ”.

After reviewing the past activities of the HKNP and Andy Chan’s talks, law enforcement authorities concluded that the HKNP was a threat to national security. The recommendation stated:

The government of the Hong Kong SAR must not wait for a political movement to resort to violence before intervening … Even if the political movement has not yet attempted to seize power and the danger of its policies does not is not imminent, the government of the Hong Kong SAR must take preventive measures because the HKNP The movement began to take concrete action in public to implement a goal inconsistent with the laws.

Police handed Chan a 900-page dossier detailing his and the party’s activities and outlining his proposal to ban the group. Chan must respond to the case by September 4.

Luncheon Announcement by Andy Chan. Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club website.

The visit to the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s FCC was not necessarily a sign of a problem. Hong Kong media organizations are used to receiving “political advice” from Beijing officials.

But tensions began to escalate when former Hong Kong general manager Leung “CY” Chun-ying stepped in and criticized the FCC for crossing a so-called “red line”:

?? ??

Hong Kong’s independence is clearly and definitely a red line. Advocating the independence of Hong Kong is tantamount to advocating the resurgence of the country and constitutes an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. Today the FCC invites Andy Chan to talk about the independence of Hong Kong, tomorrow he could invite others to talk about the independence of Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet. What would become of Hong Kong?

In response to CY Leung’s “red line” comment, Victor Mallett, FCC’s senior vice president, restored the value of free speech.

Leung then posted an open letter on Facebook, in which he compared Andy Chan’s hosting to criminal and terrorist activity:

Presumably, then, you will defend your decision by also asserting that those who oppose Taiwan’s independence would have the same opportunity to present their views. By following this logic, you are unlikely to draw any lines against criminals and terrorists. As I said, we should be very concerned.

He further claimed that FCC had paid “nominal rent”. In comments, his supporters pleaded for the Hong Kong government to take back the property.

Leung’s claim was refuted by former FCC board member Francis Moriarty as an ill-informed threat:

Leung is completely wrong about the rent… When I left the FC board three years ago, we were paying around 550,000 HKD (70,060 USD) per month and were fully responsible for the upkeep of the historic building. .

Chris Yeung Kin-hing, president of the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKAJ), saw Leung’s comment as “blatant political pressure”:

Leung is essentially asking the FCC to cancel Chan’s conference and stop inviting similar guests in the future, otherwise the lease might not be renewed or even be resumed sooner… This is blatant political pressure.

But CY Leung’s argument has been echoed by many pro-Beijing media and politicians. On August 8, a group of 30 protesters took to the streets and demonstrated outside the FCC in Central to demand that Andy Chan’s speech be quashed.

The FCC has resisted political pressure and the interview is still scheduled to take place on August 14. Nonetheless, political pressure took hold on other local media.

The city’s public broadcaster, Radio Television Hong Kong, Leung Ka-wing, told a regular meeting on August 9 that the broadcaster should not be used to defend Hong Kong independence and banned the live broadcast of Andy Chan’s speech to the FCC. The RTHK program staff union explained that the decision whether or not to broadcast a live event is usually made by the section chief of the various program teams after internal deliberation. It is unusual for the leader to make a decision this way.

More than half of local media owners in Hong Kong also sit on government bodies appointed by Beijing, such as the National People’s Congress. Even though there is no law in place to prosecute media for presenting political dissent, the FCC saga sends a strong signal to media owners and their information management teams on the “red line. “. The effects are more than chilling.

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Independence activist

“They treat Hong Kong like parts of China”: independence activist Andy Chan condemns decision to censor talks

Independence activist Andy Chan said the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s attempt to block his speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club proved that Hong Kong’s attempt to ban his party was a “political incident” beyond the local government.

The Club will welcome Chan, chairman of the Hong Kong National Party, for a luncheon on August 14. Announced on July 30, the speech is titled “Hong Kong Nationalism: A Politically Incorrect Guide to Hong Kong Under Chinese Rule.” The party faces a ban, with authorities asking Chan to respond to a 900-page dossier by September 4.

A representative from the Chinese commissioner’s office in Hong Kong visited the FCC, urging it to reconsider its decision to host Chan.

Andy Chan Ho-tin. File photo: inmediahk.net.

“From top to bottom, it was planned by the Chinese government, the script was written,” Chan told HKFP.

See also: Explanation: How Hong Kong seeks to ban an independence party using existing national security laws

“This bold exercise of pressure on the FCC is a clear suppression of freedom of speech and the freedom to conduct interviews. They treat Hong Kong like parts of China, where information can be blocked. “

In a statement, the commissioner’s office said the independence forces have seriously violated the Chinese Constitution, the Basic Law and the laws of Hong Kong, and harmed the country’s national security and territorial sovereignty.

“We strongly support the government of the Hong Kong SAR to deal with the matter in accordance with the Basic Law and the laws of the Hong Kong SAR. We strongly oppose any attempt by outside forces to provide a platform for supporters of “Hong Kong independence” to spread their falsehoods, “he said.

Journalism and free expression NGOs criticized the decision.

“Such a move may result in self-censorship on the part of groups to avoid sensitive topics and speakers, as our annual report on freedom of expression points out. We support the FCC which stands by its principles, ”Shirley Yam of the Hong Kong Journalists Association told HKFP.

Cédric Alviani, director of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia, told HKFP that he denounced the attempted intimidation of the FCC, “a club which represents the very spirit of press freedom in Hong Kong” .

Foreign correspondents club. Photo: Government of Hong Kong.

“We urge Beijing to respect freedom of speech and freedom of the press, which are explicitly written in the basic law signed by China before the handover,” Alviani added.

Acting club president Victor Mallet confirmed that the Bureau made a statement to the FCC: “Our position is that we are a club which is a very strong defender of press freedom and freedom of expression. .

See also: “Enemy of the State” – National Party Founder Andy Chan Says Party “Unmasked” Hong Kong Political Reality

Police last month told the government there was a strong enough case in the interests of “national security, public safety, public order, protection of liberty and the rights of others”For the security secretary to ban the party, citing section 8 (1) (a) of the Companies Ordinance for the first time after the surrender.

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Independence activist

Hong Kong independence activist banned from elections | News | DW

Andy Chan, who founded the Hong Kong National Party just four months ago, was banned by the city’s electoral affairs commission on Saturday.

The party was informed that Chan’s candidacy to run in the New Western Territories constituency had been “invalidated,” the “South China Morning Post” reported.

“On July 30, the National Party received an email from the government saying it had officially disqualified party chairman Andy Chan,” a statement said on Saturday.

The party, which claims growing support for the semi-autonomous city’s break with mainland China, said it was “honored” to be the first to see a candidate disqualified.

“Even if they prevent the party from participating in the elections, they cannot stop the inevitable process of Hong Kong independence,” the statement added.

A new statement that is controversial

Chan was one of at least 13 pro-democracy candidates who refused to sign a declaration accepting that the city is an “inalienable” part of China, a measure introduced by the Commission earlier this year.

Critics have called the new proclamation political censorship and an attempt to dissuade candidates from advocating Beijing’s self-determination or independence.

But despite threats to challenge that decision in court, officials in Beijing and Hong Kong insist that the defense of independence goes against the Basic Law – the territory’s mini constitution.

On Saturday, a statement by the Hong Kong government reiterated that any candidate who promotes Hong Kong independence “may not be able to uphold the Basic Law or perform his duties as a legislator.”

Support for low escapement

Last week, a survey by the School of Journalism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that only 17% of Hong Kong citizens supported the idea of ​​breaking with China after 2047. Among those aged 15 to 24, support for independence was almost 40%. .

The date would mark the end of a 50-year “one country, two systems” agreement that China and the United Kingdom signed when the former British colony returned to China in 1997. Beijing agreed that Hong Kong would enjoy more freedoms than others. from China until at least 2047.

Only 4% of those polled thought an escape was a real possibility, according to the survey of Cantonese speakers.

Over the past two decades, critics have accused China of breaking its deal, as Beijing increases its influence in a variety of areas, from politics to the media.

Two years ago, the territory saw a three-month wave of pro-democracy protests that crippled much of Hong Kong Island. The so-called Umbrella Revolution, which peaked at over 100,000, saw a series of sit-ins and street protests, which the governments in Hong Kong and Beijing have denounced as illegal.

mm / rc (AFP, Reuters)

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