Hong Kong: Pro-democracy Tiananmen vigil leader invokes Gandhi at sentencing – WION
Pro-democracy activist Lee Cheuk-yan (C) arrives at West Kowloon court in Hong Kong on April 16, 2021, to receive sentencing after being found guilty of organising an unauthorised assembly on August 18, 2019. Photograph:( AFP )
The prominent pro-democracy activist Lee Cheuk-yan compared Hong Kong democracy protests to Indian freedom struggle
A prominent pro-democracy activist in Hong Kong on Wednesday invoked Mahatma Gandhi as he compared Hong Kong’s democracy movement to India’s freedom struggle from colonial Britain. Lee Cheuk yan, the pro-democracy activist, made a defiant speech at the time of his sentencing at Hong Kong court. He defended his decision to take part in a banned Tiananmen vigil held in Hong Kong last year.
Lee Cheuk-yan is one of eight pro-democracy figures on trial for joining the vigil.
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“We are all followers of Gandhi’s idea of non-violent struggle, hoping to bring democratic reforms to Hong Kong,” he said, occasionally choking back sobs.
“Now that I am imprisoned as Gandhi was, I will learn to be as fearless as Gandhi was.”
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The veteran activist and labour rights organiser said he had “no regrets” about defying the police ban.
“If I must go to jail to affirm my will, then so be it,” Lee said at the close of his speech.
Lee (64) was in Beijing during the 1989 crackdown against democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. He later became a leader of the Hong Kong Alliance
— the group which organised huge candlelight vigils in the city each June to remember those killed.
For years Hong Kong was the one place in China where what happened in 1989 could still be publicly remembered.
But China is currently remoulding the business hub in its own authoritarian image after huge and often violent democracy protests two years ago.
Commemorating Tiananmen has been effectively outlawed by a new national security law designed to crush dissent.
The Hong Kong Alliance disbanded earlier this year after some of its key leaders were charged with subversion under the security law while a Tiananmen museum the group ran was raided by police.
More than 150 people have been arrested under the security law — mostly for their political beliefs and speech — and around half are being prosecuted.
Six of the eight defendants on trial for last year’s Tiananmen vigil were already in jail before proceedings began, including Lee.
Three defendants — jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai, the alliance’s vice chair Chow Hang-tung and journalist-turned activist Gwyneth Ho — have pleaded not guilty.
The trial verdicts and sentencing will be handed down next month.
(With inputs from agencies)
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