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Asia Minute: Hong Kong authorities sentencing elderly protestors

Hong Kong Handover 25 Years
Kin Cheung/AP
FILE - Protesters hold placards and march on a street as they take part in a rally against the proposed amendments to extradition law in Hong Kong on June 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

It’s been a little more than three years since Hong Kong was rocked by a series of street protests that grew into a broader pro-democracy movement. Chinese authorities have since crushed voices of dissent — with the latest development coming this week.

The 2019 protests started as a response to a proposed change in Hong Kong’s extradition laws — one that would allow suspects to be tried in mainland China.

What began with a sit-in at government headquarters in the spring grew to a series of street demonstrations — drawing tens of thousands of people.

While many young people were active in the protests that followed, this week, authorities have come for some of the elders.

On Tuesday, a 75-year-old terminal cancer patient was sentenced to nine months in jail for sedition — trying to protest against the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this year.

He had already been held without bail for more than five months

On Wednesday, 66-year-old Alexandra Wong was sentenced to eight months in jail for taking part in protests in 2019.

Nicknamed “Grandma Wong,” she was known for carrying a British union jack flag at anti-government protests.

Wong says she was detained in China for more than a year after the 2019 protests — and forced to renounce her activism in writing.

She had pleaded not guilty to unlawful assembly, but changed that plea on the first day of her trial.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee is currently reviewing Hong Kong’s laws under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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