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World must support Hong Kong, says activist Wong at court hearing

World must support Hong Kong, says activist Wong at court hearing

DPA
Hong Kong
Three high-profile Hong Kong activists faced court proceedings on Monday for charges filed against them last year after thousands of protesters stormed a police headquarters building.
Pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow pleaded guilty to charges of inciting and participating in unauthorized assembly, while fellow activists Joshua Wong and Ivan Lam pleaded not guilty to the same charges.
Wong additionally pleaded not guilty to charges of organizing an unauthorized assembly.  All three were released on bail until August 5, when Chow is set to be sentenced.
Amid mass demonstrations last year against a now-withdrawn extradition bill, on June 21, 2019, protesters blocked roads, chanted at police and threw objects and defaced a police headquarters in response to alleged police brutality.
Speaking from inside the court on Monday, Wong told dpa that political persecution was now part of the daily routine in Hong Kong.
“More than 1,600 Hong Kongers have been prosecuted and almost 10,000 of us were arrested last summer. It’s a difficult time for us, but it is not the time for us to surrender yet,” he said.
On Wednesday - July 1, the day Hong Kong marked 23 years since its handover to China from British rule - a new national security law imposed by China came into force. It targets secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces in Hong Kong.
Critics say its purpose is to quash dissent in the financial hub, which has been roiled by protests for the past year.
Though the official annual march to mark the anniversary was banned by police, hundreds took to the streets in protest against the new law, resulting in more than 370 arrests, 10 of which were for breaching the new security law.
Under the new law, “serious offenders” may face life imprisonment, or a fixed term of no less than 10 years. In the past, Hong Kong has enjoyed greater political freedoms than in mainland China.
Wong said he and the other pro-democracy activists would continue to let the voice of Hong Kongers be heard in the global community.
“Now is the time for the world to support Hong Kong,” he said.
“Even though we don’t operate Demosisto [anymore], this weekend is the primary elections for the pro-democracy camp and we urge people to come and vote, every vote counts to pressure Beijing,” he said.

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