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Prison sentence against HK activists regrettable: Taiwan government

ROC Central News Agency

12/02/2020 11:09 PM

Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) Taiwan's government said Wednesday it is regrettable that three pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong were sentenced to prison in a court ruling that was damaging to freedom, stability and prosperity in the special administrative region of China.

The decision to imprison Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), Agnes Chow (周庭), and Ivan Lam (林朗彥) represents a failure by the Hong Kong government to protect the people's political rights and freedom of speech, said the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the Taiwan agency responsible for policy toward China.

In a statement, MAC said the court acted to "get rid of people with dissenting opinions" and crush democracy and freedom in Hong Kong society.

The 24-year-old activist Wong was sentenced Wednesday to a total of 13.5 months in prison for organizing an unauthorized protest outside the police headquarters in June 2019 and inciting others to attend, during months of unrest over a proposed bill that would have allowed the extradition of suspected felons to China.

Chow and Lam were sentenced to 10 and seven months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the protests. The three activists are former members of the political party Demosisto, which was disbanded on June 30 after Beijing announced it had approved a new security law for Hong Kong.

Commenting on the sentences, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Taiwan will continue to support the democratic movement in Hong Kong, and she urged Hong Kongers not to abandon their ideas because of fear.

"The dark night will pass and daylight will definitely come," Tsai said on her Facebook page, citing the example of Taiwan's past struggles for democracy.

Meanwhile, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said China and the Hong Kong government were creating political terror, using "national security" as an excuse, and contravening the "one country, two systems" formula that applies in the special administration region.

Beijing and the Hong Kong government should be harshly condemned for destroying Hong Kong's autonomy, democracy and freedom, the DPP said in a statement.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Elizabeth Hsu)


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