Hong Kong court sentences 3 Tiananmen vigil organizers to prison | Politics News

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The three organizers of the annual vigil to mark the bloody 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in China were sentenced to four and a half months in prison.

Three former members of a Hong Kong group that organized annual vigils to mark China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre have been sentenced to four-and-a-half months in prison for failing to comply with a request for information. under a national security law imposed in Beijing.

Chow Hang-tung, 38, a prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and former vice-president of the Hong Kong Federation for the Support of Democratic Movements in China, was arraigned in a magistrate’s court on Saturday along with Tang’s co-defendants Ngok-kwan and Tsui Hon-kwong.

Announcing the prison sentence which fell short of the maximum six-month prison term allowed for the charge, Judge Peter Law said that “national security is of paramount importance to the public interest and to the country all”.

The now-disbanded alliance was the main organizer of Hong Kong’s June 4 candlelight vigil for the victims of China’s Tiananmen Square, where Chinese troops and tanks were deployed in 1989 against peaceful protests for democracy.

Every year, the vigil attracted tens of thousands of people in the largest public memorial of its kind on Chinese soil.

Speaking before her sentencing on Saturday, Chow was defiant, criticizing what she described as the “political” nature of the case, and the court’s decision to withhold key facts.

“We will continue to do what we have always done, which is to fight lies with truth, sadness with dignity, secrecy with openness, madness with reason, division with loyalty. We will fight these crimes wherever we have to, whether it’s on the streets, in the courtroom, or in a prison cell,” Chow said from the dock, in a speech that he was repeatedly violated by the law.

The alliance was accused by the prosecutor, Ivan Cheung, of being a “foreign agent” for an unknown group after allegedly receiving HK$20,000 ($2,562.69) in funding.

Tang and Tsui were both granted bail pending an appeal, while Chow was in custody on Saturday awaiting trial in a separate national security case.

The national security law under which they were charged criminalizes secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces to intervene in the city’s affairs as well as terrorism. Many anti-democracy activists were silenced or jailed after its implementation in 2020.

In a separate case, Elizabeth Tang, who was arrested in Hong Kong for endangering national security earlier this week, was released on bail on Saturday. Tang is a former labor activist.

“I feel senseless because my work is always about labor rights and organizing trade unions. So I don’t understand why I was accused of breaking the law and endangering national security,” she told reporters on Saturday after her release.

In an unnamed statement on Thursday, police said they had arrested a 65-year-old woman on Hong Kong Island on suspicion of consorting with a foreign country or with outside elements in order to secure endanger national. He said she was detained for investigation.

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