By Tenzin Monlam
Joshua Wong (left), Nathan Law (middle) and Alex Chow (left).
DHARAMSHALA, August 18: Following the sentencing of the faces of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Movement’, International Tibet Networks (ITN), a coalition of the international groups for Tibet, has expressed ‘deep outrage’ and condemned the move.
The Hong Kong Court of Appeal on Thursday sentenced the trio - Demosisto leaders Johua Wong and Nathan Law to six and eight months’ imprisonment terms respectively, while former student union leader Alex Chow has been sentenced to seven months for their role in leading the 79-day anti-government occupation in 2014.
Earlier on August 15, the court had also sentenced 13 other activists to imprisonment for their involvement.
“We condemn Hong Kong’s highly political sentencing of democracy leaders Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow to between 6 and 8 months in jail, and of 13 other activists to almost a year of imprisonment,” said Dorjee Tseten, Co Chair of International Tibet Network.
He also added, “This is a vengeful and calculated attack against peaceful activism and free speech that proves that the courts in Hong Kong have become craven tools of the Chinese Communist Party.”
The group of 185 Tibet advocacy organizations also implied the ulterior motive of Beijing behind the sentencing since it would bar them from standing for the Legislative Council for the next five years. They had already fulfilled sentence given to them last year - a 3-week sentence for Alex Chow and 80 and 120 hours of community service for Joshua Wong and Nathan Law respectively.
“We call on the international community to press China for the immediate release of the Hong Kong democracy activists. We express our deep respect for all those fighting for their fundamental freedoms. To Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law in particular, we send our admiration of your indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment to nonviolent action,” said Alison Reynolds, Executive Director of International Tibet Network.
Following the sentencing, Wong tweeted, “They can silence protests, remove us from the legislature and lock us up. But they will not win the hearts and minds of Hongkongers.”
As a message to the people of Hong Kong, he tweeted, “In this authoritarian era, we may be worried, anxious, scared; but I hope that you will persist and never give up.”