HK activists get prison for Tiananmen vigil

"Commemorating June 4th is conscientious."

This is what pro-democracy activists were chanting outside a Hong Kong court, where nine colleagues were sentenced to between six and 10 months prison on Wednesday (September 15) for taking part in an unauthorized vigil which marked the anniversary of China's Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

Three others received suspended sentences.

All 12, including veteran vigil organizer Albert Ho, former lawmaker Eddie Chu and former leader of the Civil Human Rights Front Figo Chan, had pleaded guilty.

This is Chan Po-Ying, a pro-democracy activist who stood outside the court on Wednesday:

"The new normal now emerging is that pro-democracy activists continue to be prosecuted after being arrested, have new charges added for them, and trying to punish them for their past behaviors. I think the government continues to suppress our basic human rights."

The city traditionally holds the largest vigil in the world for the victims of Tiananmen Square.

But the last two vigils were banned by police citing coronavirus restrictions.

Thousands still turned up to light candles across the city in 2020, and smaller crowds did the same in 2021.

The ban came after the mass pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2019 and was seen by many activists as an attempt to shut down any display of defiance to Beijing.

Hong Kong authorities denied that was the reason.

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