Hong Kong Jails Pro-Democracy Leader And Activists

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Pro-democracy mogul Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for participating in an unauthorized assembly in 2019.

Lai, 73, is among ten prominent activists sentenced on Friday for participating in an unlawful assembly on 1 October 2019.

He is already serving time for participating in other demonstrations that year.

Lai will serve part of his new sentence consecutively, meaning he faces a total of 20 months in jail, trial observers said.

The verdict comes as mainland is increasingly cracking down on Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms.

On Thursday, Hong Kong’s legislature passed a controversial electoral reform law. It is aimed at keeping people China deems “unpatriotic” from positions of political power.

The reform will allow a pro-China panel to vet and elect candidates, reducing democratic representation.

Western leaders say it violates an agreement between and China on how to handle the forged British territory. Under the handover terms, China guaranteed freedoms – including , assembly, and an independent judiciary. The “one country, two systems” formula that underpinned the agreement between Beijing and London was to co-exist for 50 years.

Those freedoms remain far more significant than those on the mainland, where the ruling Chinese Communist Party ultimately controls many aspects of society, including the media and the courts.

Article 5 of the Basic Law states that China’s “socialist system and policies” shall not be practiced in Hong Kong and “the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years”.

British colonial Hong Kong was famously described by the Eurasian writer Han Suyin as existing on “borrowed time in a borrowed place.” The clock to 2047 is ticking.

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