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A Hong Kong court has sentenced 12 individuals to jail time for their involvement in the 2019 pro-democracy protests, with terms ranging from over four years to nearly seven years.

District Court Judge Li Chi-ho delivered the sentences on Saturday, emphasizing the case of actor Gregory Wong, who, despite pleading not guilty, received a six-year and two-month prison term. Political activists Ventus Lau and Owen Chow, both of whom admitted guilt, were sentenced to just over 54 and 61 months, respectively. Althea Suen, a former university student union president who also pled guilty, was sentenced to four years and nine months. Additionally, two former reporters faced fines for entering or staying in the legislative chamber, though they were not convicted of rioting.


The defendants, before receiving their sentences, defended their actions. Althea Suen articulated the protest as an act of seeking democracy and freedom, whereas Owen Chow invoked Martin Luther King Jr., describing the riot as “the language of the unheard.” Chow also critiqued the government’s inaction over the extradition bill, despite massive public opposition, suggesting that the handling of dissent by a political regime is crucial for sustainable societal growth.

According to Chinese media, roughly 10,200 people were arrested during the 2019 protests that sought to stop a new national security law that would give the Chinese government more power over those who challenged their authority.


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