Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong and three others pleaded guilty on Friday to charges related to their participation in last year’s June 4 vigil commemorating the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Wong, a prominent pro-democracy activist, is already serving a sentence of 17 months in prison, having been sentenced to 13 months imprisonment for organizing an illegal assembly during the height of the 2019 anti-government protests. This sentence was extended by four months on April 13 after Wong pleaded guilty to fresh charges of unauthorized assembly and violating an anti-mask law.
The other activists who pleaded guilty in the District Court on Friday were Lester Shum, Jannelle Leung and Tiffany Yuen.
The vigil has been an annual event in Hong Kong ever since the Chinese People’s Liberation Army opened fire on a crowd of pro-democracy student demonstrators gathered in and around Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. However, the gathering was outlawed in 2020 on account of COVID-19 concerns. When thousands took to the streets in defiance of the ban, 26 were arrested and charged with holding and knowingly taking part in an unauthorized assembly. Two of them have since fled Hong Kong.
According to Hong Kong Free Press, the gathering has been banned again this year. Though an application to hold the vigil in Victoria Park was not explicitly rejected, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department said that it “has suspended processing of booking applications for free recreational and sports venues for non-designated activities until further notice.”