Hong Kong Authorities Crackdown on Umbrella Movement Activists
On August 15, 2017, Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal sentenced Nathan Law to eight months in prison for organizing over 200,000 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement demonstrators on a 79-day blockade in the business districts of Hong Kong three years ago. Fellow organizers Joshua Wong and Alex Chow were also tried and sentenced to six and seven months in prison for their roles in the protests. On August 18, 2017, Hong Kong authorities detained Mr. Wong, who is the first to start serving his sentence.
The revised sentences stem from a review of a lower court’s ruling. Under the original July 2016 ruling, Mr. Chow was sentenced to a three-week suspended sentence, and Mr. Law and Mr. Wong received 120 and 80 hours of community service, respectively.
Thousands of people flooded the streets of Hong Kong to protest the revised sentences, which came after the activists had already served their original sentences, and have united under the slogan “We are all Nathan Law, Joshua Wong, and Alex Chow.”
The Umbrella Movement formed in response to China Central Government’s decision on the Hong Kong election. Protesters claimed the decision did not represent the citizens’ will and demand for the “high degree of autonomy” stated in Hong Kong’s basic law.
In 2014, the Umbrella Movement was formed in response to China Central Government’s decision on the Hong Kong election. Protesters claimed the decision did not represent the citizens’ will and demand for the “high degree of autonomy” stated in Hong Kong’s basic law. The Movement was named after the umbrellas protesters used to protect themselves from tear gas and pepper spray, which were used by Hong Kong authorities to break up the peaceful demonstrations.
Following the protests, Mr. Law and Mr. Wong, among other protest leaders, formed Demosistō, a pro-democracy political party founded on the concept of self-determination for Hong Kong. Last year, Mr. Law won a seat in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, becoming Hong Kong’s youngest parliamentarian. Subsequently, he and five pro-democracy legislators were barred from their elected positions by Hong Kong court with excuse of “failed to deliver their oath of office in accordance to law.” The revised sentences also block the three leaders from public office by making them ineligible to run for office for the next five years.
At the World Movement for Democracy’s Eighth Assembly, our global network honored Mr. Law with a Democracy Courage Tribute on behalf of the Umbrella Movement. During his acceptance speech, Mr. Law stated, “History is made by people, who with determination and passion, have the willingness and stamina to dream and try to change the world.” Three of the leaders of the Umbrella Movement are now facing the repercussions of trying to change the world. The World Movement for Democracy joins the Network of Young Democratic Asians (NOYDA) in urging the government of Hong Kong to drop all charges against the activists. Join us in expressing solidarity with the Umbrella Movement activists by signing this petition!
Region: Asia | Topic: Democratic Ideas & Values, Freedom of Association, Human Rights, Strengthening Political Institutions, Youth