Three prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activists were sentenced to prison Wednesday for a protest outside police headquarters as authorities stepped up a crackdown on opposition to tighten control by Beijing over the territory. The activists—Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and Ivan Lam—are among more than 10,000 people who have been arrested since June 2019 on charges related to protests against a proposed extradition law that expanded to include demands for greater democracy, the AP reports. Beijing responded to the protests by imposing a sweeping national security law to crack down on dissent, which prompted more public opposition. Wong, 24, is known abroad for his role as a student leader of the 2014 "Umbrella Revolution" protests in Hong Kong.
Wong was sentenced to 13.5 months in prison after pleading guilty to organizing and taking part in the June 21, 2019, demonstration outside Hong Kong's police headquarters over the extradition bill and police use of force against protesters. Chow, who turned 24 Thursday, was sentenced to 10 months after pleading guilty to participating and inciting other protesters. Lam, 26, pleaded guilty to incitement and was sentenced to 7 months. Amnesty International said the three “must be released immediately and unconditionally.” "Once again, the government has used the politically motivated charge of ‘inciting others to protest’ to prosecute people who have merely spoken out and protested peacefully," said the group's Asia-Pacific regional director, Yamini Mishra. "By targeting well-known activists from Hong Kong’s largely leaderless protest movement, authorities are sending a warning to anyone who dares openly criticize the government that they could be next.”
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