What people are saying about the jailing of three Hong Kong democracy activists

·3-min read

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Joshua Wong, 24, one of Hong Kong's most prominent democracy activists, was jailed on Wednesday for 13-1/2 months for his role in an unlawful anti-government rally in 2019, the toughest and most high-profile sentencing of an opposition figure this year.

His long-time colleagues Agnes Chow, 23, and Ivan Lam, 26, were jailed for a total of 10 and seven months, respectively, on charges linked to the same siege when thousands of protesters surrounded the police headquarters on June 21 to demand the government withdraw a now-shelved extradition bill.

Here is what people are saying about the sentences:

Dominic Raab, Britain's foreign minister:

"Prosecution decisions must be fair and impartial, and the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong must be upheld."

Lord (David) Alton, UK member of House of Lords:

"Jailing a young woman like Agnes Chow and young men like Ivan Lam and Joshua Wong - simply because they love Hong Kong - is a travesty of justice. You cannot fight the future, time is on their side."

Nathan Law, pro-democracy activist-in-exile, former chairman of Demosisto:

"It's devastating to see the sentencing. It's an absurdly heavy sentencing and the independence of the judiciary system is in doubt.

"It shows that the court once again become the suppression tool in favor to the authorities and the authority is determined to imprison prominent activists to set an example.

"I hope the international community could voice against this unjust sentencing and demand immediate release of the trio.

"As Joshua said before he left the courtroom – it’s not the end of the fight. We all have to stick to our roles and resist. It’s time to speak up for Hong Kong more actively."

Antony Tsang, 26-year old Hong Kong resident, works in a bank:

"I think it is expected. At the beginning of the year, the national security law has been enforced, I think there could be just more and more cases like this."

Alex Choy, 33-year old Hong Kong resident, works in finance:

"Really, (I am) quite disappointed with what the government did. There is no more freedom of speech right now. It’s getting even worse in Hong Kong’s current situation."

Sunny Cheung, pro-democracy activist:

"Whenever you feel the movement is losing momentum and vigour, I think (Joshua) is the one who always has the faith in Hongkongers. And now, he is detained, this is a big loss to the civil society."

"It also denotes a fact that Hong Kong is now entering a new stage if not a dark time which requires strategic adjustment in order to continue the fight for democracy."

"The case...exemplifies the court tries to enforce much stringent legal standard to prosecute protesters."

Ming Lam, programme manager, Amnesty International Hong Kong:

"With the (national) security law in the background, we are afraid that the national security law will be used as a pretext to ban assemblies, peaceful assemblies, and processions, and hence to stifle Hong Kong’s people’s right of freedom of expression."

"I think that a lot of the prosecutions that we have seen ever since last year have been politically motivated."

"Arresting leaders of the social movements, so to speak in order to further stifle and shrink people’s rights of freedom of expression, in order to further crack down on the social movement and (the) dissenting voices of Hong Kong people."

There was no immediate reaction from Beijing or Hong Kong authorities on the sentencing.

(Reporting by Aleksander Solum; Compiled by Clare Jim; Editing by Kim Coghill)