On August 17, 2017, an appeal by the Chinese-controlled Hong Kong prosecution officially imprisoned three young student leaders, Alex Chow, Nathan Law and Joshua Wong, for their leadership in the 2014 umbrella movement. They were on the forefront of the Umbrella Movement, and were present during the only dialogue with the Hong Kong Government. The grim ending to their case gravely saddens us, and we express our solemn protest against the evil intentions of Chinese authorities.
It has now been three years since the protests that saw millions of young Hong Kong citizens flood to the streets and take up the fight for democracy, and against the meddling hands of the Chinese Communist Party. Citizen Power, and other Pro-democracy activists will never forget the continuing efforts of the organizers on the front lines, but the Chinese Communist Party is not willing to forget either.
At almost the same time two years ago, the trio had been convicted for taking part in or inciting an "illegal assembly", and sentenced to community service for their ideals. Through the guise of Hong Kong's Department of Justice, Beijing's heavy hand has worked maliciously to make a cautionary tale out of these young men.
They want to send a message to the people of Hong Kong that to rebel, and to express one's own thoughts is tantamount to committing a serious crime. A community service charge was never strong enough to send that message.
Judge Wally Yeung, who presided over the case, accused the call for democracy as "arrogant and self-righteous thinking", and a "sick trend" of anti-government protest. The message was sent. Alex, Nathan, and Joshua will spend seven months, eight months, and six months behind bars, respectively.
We are saddened by this abhorrent and transparent act of political imprisonment by the Chinese-backed government, and the setback it has caused for a peaceful transition to democracy in Hong Kong. Not only have the freedoms of the trio been stolen, but their ability to assume to office in the next five years has been unjustly taken as well -- in accordance with Hong Kong's laws prohibiting individuals jailed for more than 3 months to run for office within 5 years.
Chow, Law, and Wong may be behind bars, but we share their plea to other Hong Kongers to continue to fight for democracy in Hong Kong, which is now more important than ever. Xi Jinping's ambition to return to fundamental Marxist principles has seen him flex military might in Hong Kong, threatening to topple the rule of law.
They can silence protests, remove us from the legislature and lock us up. But they will not win the hearts and minds of Hongkongers. - Joshua Wong
We wish Alex Chow, Nathan Law and Joshua Wong a safe 2017, and promise not to take their sacrifices for granted.