- Even before the hearing, Wong said he expects to go to jail.
- He is accused along with Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow, two other well-known government critics.
- Last year, over the course of seven months, there were large and often violent pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong pleaded guilty to inciting and staging illegal demonstrations in the Special Administrative Region, and risks up to five years in prison. The activist was remanded in custody on Monday after the first court hearing in his case, related to his involvement in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year.
Even before the hearing, Wong said he expects to go to jail. Just before entering the courtroom, Wong, who addressed news reporters, hinted that he would not be surprised if he was to be immediately detained.
“Perhaps the authorities wish me to stay in prison one term after another,” said the youthful activist. “But I am persuaded that neither prison bars, nor election bans, nor any other arbitrary powers would stop us from activism. What we are doing now is to explain the value of freedom to the world.”
At the end of the hearing, he was remanded in custody for the time being. Before being led away by security personnel, Wong, who didn’t appear remorseful, vowed to keep fighting for democracy in the SAR and not to give up.
“We will continue to fight for freedom — and now is not the time for us to kowtow to Beijing and surrender,” Wong told reporters.
He is accused along with Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow, two other well-known government critics. They have also been remanded in custody. “We have no regrets,” added his co-accused, Lam, 26. The verdict in the case is set to be made on 2 December.
Last year, over the course of seven months, there were large and often violent pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, as millions of Hong Kongers took to the streets. The Chinese government and local authorities have rejected the protesters’ demands for free elections and have instead reacted with increasing harshness to the protests.
Wong, 24, has been one of the most prominent figures in the democracy movement. Specifically, Wong, Lam, and Chow are accused in connection with a demonstration last summer outside the Hong Kong police headquarters.
Police were repeatedly targeted by the demonstrators during the protest last year. While police headquarters were under siege, protesters threw eggs and spray-painted graffiti. Police used tear gas and shot rubber bullets at them.
The three activists are accused of leading the demonstration, inciting the crowd, and taking part in the demonstration. They can face up to five years in prison owing to the allegations levelled against them.
Several western countries have expressed concern about Hong Kong’s independence, in part because of the recent so-called National Security Law imposed on the semi-autonomous region by China, which has made it illegal to demonstrate for a free Hong Kong.
Thousands of people were arrested during and after the demonstrations in Hong Kong, and courtrooms are currently filled in several places in the city. Many of the leading opposition figures are facing lawsuits.