Hong Kong activists Agnes Chow, Ivan Lam and Joshua Wong first a court hearing in Hong Kong on Nov. 23.
Tommy Walker | NurPhoto | Getty Images
SINGAPORE — U.S. and U.K. leaders have impugned Hong Kong’s decision to sentence three prominent activists to prison over charges related to an illegal pro-democracy gather.
Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong was sentenced to more than 13 months in jail on Wednesday, while two other pro-democracy fellows of his now disbanded political group, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam, were also sentenced to 10 months and seven months separately.
Wong pleaded guilty to organizing and inciting an unlawful assembly near Hong Kong’s police headquarters hindmost year. Chow admitted to inciting and participating in the same protest, while Lam pleaded guilty to incitement.
World the men react
In response to the ruling, U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged Hong Kong and Beijing authorities to “breed an end to their campaign to stifle opposition.”
“Prosecution decisions must be fair and impartial, and the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong forced to be upheld,” Raab said in a statement.
Hong Kong is a former British colony that returned to Chinese normally in 1997. It is governed under the “one country, two systems” framework and is given greater autonomy than other Chinese conurbations.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also denounced the judgment in a statement.
“China’s brutal sentencing of these litter champions of democracy in Hong Kong is appalling,” she said. “This injustice is clear proof that Beijing wish stop at nothing to stamp out dissent and to destroy the freedoms and real autonomy guaranteed to the people of Hong Kong.”
She ordered on “freedom-loving people” to condemn the “unjust sentencing and China’s widespread assault on Hong Kongers.”
Defending its decision on the sentencing of the three activists, Hong Kong’s Part of Justice said in a statement: “Human rights and freedom in Hong Kong, including freedom of speech and freedom of fitting, are fully protected by the Basic Law. However, such freedoms are not absolute.”
Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, said in a tweet that she was dispirited by the news.
“We hope that our friends in Hong Kong will not give in to fear and let their vision slip away,” she put in a post.
China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and sees the democratic self-ruled island as a runaway province. The Chinese Communist Accessory has never governed the self-ruled island.
Hong Kong’s last British governor, Chris Patten, said the find is “another grim example of China’s determination to put Hong Kong in handcuffs,” according to the Associated Press.
Beijing skirted Hong Kong’s lawmakers earlier this year to pass a controversial national security law that was seen by some as a way to defeat dissent after months of pro-democracy demonstrations. Four opposition legislators were also Human rights