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Hong Kong Has Jailed Three Prominent Young Activists Over Anti-China Protests

Joshua Wong, Alex Chow, and Nathan Law were handed six- to eight-month sentences for their roles in anti-government protests in 2014.

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Hong Kong has sentenced three young activists who led the 2014 pro-democracy protests to prison for taking part in anti-China demonstrations.

The sentencing of Joshua Wong, 20, along with student leaders Nathan Law, 24, and Alex Chow, 26, also means they have been banned from running for public office for the next five years. Wong received a six-month sentence while Law and Chow received eight and seven months respectively.

In 2014, Wong led a group of student protesters to enter and occupy the government headquarters, which triggered a 79-day pro-democracy movement that became known as the Umbrella Revolution. Wong and Chow were convicted of unlawful assembly, while Law was convicted of inciting others to take part in an unlawful assembly.

Following the announcement of the sentencing on Thursday, Wong took to Twitter with defiant messages.

Imprisoning us will not extinguish Hongkonger's desire for universal suffrage. We are stronger, more determined, and we will win.

They can silence protests, remove us from the legislature and lock us up. But they will not win the hearts and minds of Hongkongers.

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You can lock up our bodies, but not our minds! We want democracy in Hong Kong. And we will not give up.

All three activists had received community service sentences last year, but government prosecutors appealed for harsher punishment, arguing that community service orders were too lenient and sent the wrong message to young people. On Tuesday, 13 other protesters were jailed for 8 to 13 months.

The pro-democracy protests in 2014 were the most significant popular challenge to the Chinese rule in recent years. Last month, which marked the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain to mainland China, tens of thousands of protesters came out to march against the Chinese control of Hong Kong.

Anup Kaphle is a deputy world editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London. His secure PGP fingerprint is AA69 A7F0 91A0 8CF9 F06A 8343 05EE 4615 8CD5 33D8.

Contact Anup Kaphle at anup.kaphle@buzzfeed.com.

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