Jimmy Lai, Hong Kong activists convicted for Tiananmen vigil

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The founder of the disbanded pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, Jimmy Lai, has been found guilty for taking part in a banned Tiananmen vigil, local media reported on Thursday.

Lai, lawyer and co-organizer Chow Hang Tung, and activist Gwyneth Ho were all convicted on charges of unlawful assembly.

Authorities charged 24 former politicians and activists over the candlelight vigil held on June 4, 2020, in commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

All 24 were convicted.

According to the South China Morning Post, 10 of them have received prison sentences of up to 10 months and three have each received suspended sentences.

The sentences for everyone else were due to be announced on Monday.

Lai, 73, is currently serving a prison sentence on separate charges for his role in unauthorized assemblies during the 2019 anti-government protests.

For the past two years, the Police have banned the candlelight event, which draws large crowds, citing health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason.

Critics, however, saw the ban as part of a wider crackdown on dissent in the city, following anti-government protests earlier in 2020.

The protests have since been stamped out following the imposition of a national security law by Beijing.

Hong Kong’s security law frequently targets pro-democracy opposition and opposes activities that Beijing considers subversive, separatist, terrorist or conspiratorial.

In the view of critics, it serves to silence the opposition and cements the power of the Communist Party. (dpa/NAN)

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