10 prominent pro-democracy figures were sentenced today in Hong Kong in two separate cases for their peaceful involvement in protests. Those sentenced are Martin Lee (李柱铭), Albert Ho (何俊仁), Jimmy Lai (黎智英), Margaret Ng (吴霭仪), Cyd Ho (何秀兰), Lee Cheuk-yan (李卓人), Leung Kwok-hung (梁国雄), Au Nok-hin (区诺轩), Leung Yiu-chung (梁耀忠), and Yeung Sum (杨森). Their sentences range from terms of imprisonment between 8 and 18 months, and suspended prison sentences from 8 to 12 months in five of the cases. These latest decisions follow the sentencing of Joshua Wong (黄之锋) and Sze-yiu Koo (古思尧) on 13 April.
The lengthy imprisonment of some of the individuals for non-violent acts when exercising protected civic rights is a further sign of the continued diminution of the democratic space and erosion of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong. The exercise of fundamental freedoms, including peaceful assembly, must be ensured, as guaranteed in the Hong Kong Basic Law and in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
These developments in Hong Kong call into question China’s will to uphold its international commitments, undermine trust, and impact EU-China relations.