Hong Kong activists jailed for ‘obstructing police’ during democratic rally

Two well-known democracy activists were found guilty on Monday of obstructing the work of police during a June 4 democracy rally in Hong Kong. The Central Government of China did not allow participants to wear armbands, writing on them was prohibited, and signs could not reference “June 4th.” The ruling appears to imply a threat to Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” guarantee for the territory when China assumes control in 2047.

While the two activists did not face the same jail time as the organizers, both are facing up to three years in prison. A letter posted to the Hong Kong Alliance website from the two lawyers representing activists Lee Cheuk-yan and Jonathan Tsang addressed the sentence:

It is truly shameful that the Special Administrative Region Government is even considering slapping a charge on Jonathan Tsang and Lee Cheuk-yan for their political views and opinions when a court of law has clearly come to the conclusion that the common law of courts and the judgment of high court is very clear that a person who intentionally obstructs a police officer in the course of duty is guilty of the offence of an intentional destruction of property. This is an obvious attempt to control the common law and the rules of this region and in particular the common law of individual liberty of political opinion on June 4th, and acts contrary to the rule of law. This prosecution will have a chilling effect on all protesters and activists, and will serve as a strong example to the rest of the world and to the people of Hong Kong of the Chinese Communist Party’s contempt for the rule of law.

Both activists have served time in jail since they took part in the “Umbrella Movement” protests that began in 2014. They were charged for involvement in the disorderly conduct of a large crowd on June 4th. While the two denied the charge, their lawyer Zhou Peiru said on Monday that the prosecution was therefore “knee-deep in bad conscience” in prosecuting them.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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