Jailed Jimmy Lai convicted for 'unauthorised assembly' in Tiananmen vigil

WION Web Team
Hong Kong Published: Dec 09, 2021, 08:02 AM(IST)

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai (file photo) convicted for 'unauthorised assembly' in Tiananmen vigil Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

While the court charged more than two dozen pro-democracy activists over the vigil, Lai and the other two were the only ones who contested the charges being imposed on them

Jimmy Lai, the 74-year-old owner of the now-closed pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, has been declared guilty of unlawful assembly at the Tiananmen vigil.

Local reports have claimed that Lai was among the three democracy campaigners who have been convicted on Thursday. The other two convicted people are former journalist Gwyneth Ho and prominent rights lawyer Chow Hang-tung. These pro-democracy activists have been charged for taking part in the Tiananmen vigil, which was legally banned.

Also read | Hong Kong: Jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai's media group to wind down

The former pro-democracy journalist has been charged with unlawful assembly.

While the court charged more than two dozen pro-democracy activists over the vigil, Lai and the other two were the only ones who contested the charges being imposed on them. Thus, they became the last ones to receive their judgement.

Lai, along with seven other pro-democracy activists, were charged in November for unauthorised gathering at the Tiananmen vigil that took place last year, and commemorated the victims of Beijing's deadly crackdown in 1989. 

Also read | Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested again while already in prison

This new judgement makes little to no difference for Lai as he, and numerous other pro-democracy activists, have been behind the bars for months now, waiting for their justice. 

The annual June 4 vigil used to be a symbol for the political freedoms in the city as hundreds of people used to participate in the vigil every year, chanting slogans and songs. However, as China tightened its grip over the city, Hong Kong authorities banned the last two vigils. The authorities had claimed the vigils were banned due to the coronavirus pandemic and security concerns.

However, in 2021, authorities made it clear that Tiananmen commemorations in Hong Kong or Macau will not be tolerated anymore. Since China started tightening its grip over Hong Kong, unlawful assembly prosecutions have become a common tool to silence the voices of pro-democracy activists in the city.

(With inputs from agencies)

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