The Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong has been sentenced to a second jail term of three months for his role in the wave of pro-democracy demonstrations in 2014.
The 21-year-old was one of 20 demonstrators to be found guilty of contempt of court for refusing to obey a court order to leave a protest zone. Another activist, Raphael Wong, was also jailed, while the other protesters received suspended sentences.
Joshua Wong had been on bail, awaiting appeal against a six-month jail term imposed last August for a separate charge. Lawyers for both Wongs said they would appeal against the latest sentence, but they were denied an immediate request for bail.
High Court judge Andrew Chan said that although Joshua Wong had only stayed in the protest area for 90 minutes on the day in question, “his involvement in obstructing the clearance operation was deep and extensive. He played a leading role on that day”.
“The only appropriate punishment… will be one of immediate imprisonment,” the judge added.
Some 100 key activists face upcoming trials and possible jail terms.
The 2014 protests saw thousands of demonstrators – mostly young students – camp out in tents on major roads, defying the demands of Chinese authorities to leave. Umbrellas became a symbol of defiance when they were used as shields against police pepper spray and batons.
The wave of demonstrations was the biggest uprising for decades in Hong Kong, challenging China’s Communist Party leaders in demanding democracy and defending the city’s constitutionally enshrined freedoms.
The former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 amid promises that it would keep a high degree of autonomy, but activists accuse Beijing of tightening control in recent years.