Longtime Hong Kong Pro-democracy Activists Sentenced for 2019 March 

Several longtime pro-democracy advocates on Friday learned their fate for organizing one of Hong Kong’s largest-ever street protests during the height of anti-government demonstrations.Nine pro-democracy activists, including media mogul Jimmy Lai, 73, and former lawmakers Lee Cheuk-yan, 64, Leung Kwok-hung, 65, Cyd Ho, 66, and Au Nok-hin, 33, were jailed after being found guilty this month of involvement in an August 2019 march that attracted hundreds of thousands of protesters.District Judge Amanda Woodcock of Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Magistrates Court also suspended sentencing for four other activists because of their age and accomplishments, according to The Associated Press.Lai, who was Pro-democracy activist Martin Lee, center, walks out from a court after receiving a suspended sentence in Hong Kong, April 16, 2021.The four remaining activists — “father of democracy” Martin Lee, 82, Margaret Ng, 73, Albert Ho, 69, and Leung Yiu-chung, 67 — received suspended sentences.Former Democratic Party lawmaker Emily Lau, who was at the court for the sentencing, told VOA that it was a “very, very bad day for Hong Kong.””So many people who have fought for democracy and human rights and rule of law for so many years have been given such heavy jail sentences for engaging in peaceful and nonviolent protests,” she said. “It’s very, very sad. But we know everybody, including judges and the government, are under a lot of pressure from Beijing, and they really want to teach Hong Kong people a lesson.”Lau said the length of sentences didn’t come as a surprise, as they were notably longer than they had been for activists charged with illegal assembly.”We know times have changed,” said Lau. “Beijing is breathing down on us very heavily, and everybody feels the pressure.”Hong Kong Activists Feel Pressure as Chinese Authorities Approach Relatives in Mainland China Organizer of student political group is latest activist under threat of violating the National Security Law  

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