What you need to know
Hong Kong activist leader and young politician Nathan Law should be free to stand in an upcoming election after being sentenced to community service this morning.
Three leaders of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement appear to have avoided jail time for their role in starting the 2014 mass protests.
Pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), Alex Chow (周永康) and Nathan Law (羅冠聰) were found guilty last month at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court for their roles in the events that sparked the 2014 Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong. The charges related to the students entering Hong Kong’s Civic Square on Sept. 26, 2014.
Law, a candidate in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections next month, was found guilty on a more serious charge of "inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly” and potentially faced months in prison. Wong was acquitted of the same charge, but along with Chow was found guilty of the lighter charge, "taking part in an unlawful assembly."
In the sentencing this morning, Law was sentenced to 120 hours of community service, Wong 80 hours of community service and Chow received a three-week prison sentence with a one-year suspension, local website Hong Kong Free Press reports.
For Law, the sentence will likely mean he can run in the election for Demosistō – a new party led by himself and Wong among other student leaders.
In a recent interview with The News Lens International, Law maintained that he did not regret his actions.
“I still think in that circumstance, civil disobedience is the only choice to protest and to express your opinion, because we had exhausted everything in the legal framework and gained no response and made no progress,” he said.
On the potential jail time, Law said, “It has been two years since Civic Square, I have thought about the possible consequences of the court case more than 100 times in my mind. I am mentally well-prepared for it. It is not making me really nervous or worried.”
When the guilty verdict was issued to the trio last month, Amnesty International warned, “The prosecution of student leaders on vague charges smacks of political payback by the authorities."
First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole