‘It isn’t enough,’ expert says as Hong Kong activists sentenced to prison
By CGTN's Dialogue
“We had 79 days where the economy of Hong Kong was interrupted. There were tremendous hardships done to people who could least afford it,” author and columnist Einar Tangen told CGTN, referring to the sentencing last week of three Hong Kong activists responsible for inciting the illegal "Occupy Central" sit-in protests in 2014.
“So, on the one hand, it isn’t enough. On the other hand you have this situation where you have these young protesters who seem like idealists going up against the system. Remember, this is ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and what they have done in essence is say, we reject one country,” he added.
The protests, which took place across 79 days between September and December 2014, saw up to 100,000 people converge in central areas, locking down major parts of the city.
On August 17, Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow were sentenced to six to eight months in jail after previously receiving community service sentences.
Their jail terms prevent them from standing in upcoming elections and anyone jailed for more than three months is disqualified from standing in local elections for five years.
But while the jail sentences have aroused criticism and protests in Hong Kong, commentator from China Radio International, Xu Qinduo, points out that organizing the protests in the first place broke the law.
“This is purely a legal matter,” he said, “As we talk about civil disobedience, you are not supposed to get involved with violence and that should be your last resort against any law that restricts the freedom of the people.”
“What they pursued with the second ruling is a deterrent element. It’s a warning to other young people, if you’re not careful, if you say I can afford to disobey the law, then you will be punished,” he added.
Dialogue with Yang Rui is a 30-minute current affairs talk show on CGTN. It airs daily at 7.30 p.m. BJT (1130GMT), with rebroadcasts at 3.30 a.m. (1930GMT) and 11.30 a.m. (0330GMT).