Three democracy activists were jailed on Thursday for participating in the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, which lead to thousands of Hong Kong citizens protesting on Sunday in opposition of their imprisonment. Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and Alex Chow were convicted [Reuters report] to be imprisoned for six to eight months for the charge of unlawful assembly. According one of the protest organizers, Sunday’s protests held the highest number of participants since the 2014 protests with an estimate of 23,000 people. According to protestors, the conviction is politically motivated. The sentence disqualifies Wong, Law, and Chow from running for legislature for the next five years.
In 1997 Hong Kong returned to rule under China under a “one country, two systems” setup that was to protect Hong Kong’s freedoms. and autonomy However, some in Hong Kong feel as that China has too much political control over their affairs. In July the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal [official website] voided [JURIST report] the oaths of office of four opposition lawmakers and removed them from the legislature. Among the four disqualified lawmakers were 24-year-old Nathan Law, leader of the 2014 “Umbrella movement” protests. In November 2016 the Hong Kong Court of Appeal ruled [JURIST report] against two elected, pro-independence politicians from taking local office. That caused more than 1,000 Hong Kong lawyers, dressed in black, to march [JURIST report] through the city in opposition of the decision. In January an estimated 5,000 people marched in Hong Kong [JURIST report] in support of pro-democracy politicians who were similarly barred from taking office the previous year for altering their oaths office. In August a Hong Kong court convicted [JURIST report] three leaders, who participated in the 2014 pro-democracy protests, of unlawful assembly and inciting others to join the assembly.