Three former members of a Hong Kong group that organised annual vigils to mark China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre have been sentenced to four and a half months in jail for not complying with a request for information under a Beijing-imposed national security law.
Chow Hang-tung, 38, a prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and former vice chairperson of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, was sentenced at a magistrate’s court on Saturday alongside co-defendants Tang Ngok-kwan and Tsui Hon-kwong.
Announcing the custodial sentence that fell short of the six-month maximum jail term allowed for the charge, magistrate Peter Law said “national security is cardinally important to public interests and the whole nation”.
The now-disbanded alliance was the main organiser of Hong Kong’s June 4 candlelight vigil for victims of China’s Tiananmen Square where in 1989 Chinese troops and tanks were deployed against peaceful pro-democracy protests.
Every year, the vigil had attracted tens of thousands of people in the largest public commemoration of its kind on Chinese soil.
Speaking before sentencing on Saturday, Chow was defiant, while criticising what she described as the “political” nature of the case, and the decision of the court to withhold key facts.
“We will continue doing what we have always done, that is to fight falsehood with truth, indignity with dignity, secrecy with openness, madness with reason, division with solidarity. We will fight these injustices wherever we must, be it on the streets, in the courtroom, or from a prison cell,” said Chow from the dock, in a speech that was interrupted several times by Law.