Those convicted include Figo Chen of the now-defunct Civil Rights Front and two former lawmakers.
Seven Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, including former members of the Legislative Council, were sentenced to up to 12 months in prison on Saturday for participating in protests against China’s comprehensive national security law.
The seven people pleaded guilty to charges including organizing an unauthorized rally on July 1, 2020, when thousands of protesters took to the streets.
Police, who banned the demonstrations on the grounds of coronavirus restrictions, fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse them.
Activists include Figo Chan, the former leader of the now-defunct Civil Rights Front (CHRF); Zeng Jiancheng and Deng Shili of the Social Democratic League; former district councillor Cui Dehua; and former legislators Hu Zhiwei, Zhu Rongji and Liang Guoxiong.
Chen was sentenced to 12 months in prison, while others were sentenced to 6 to 10 months in prison.
“The nature of the incitement is serious,” Judge Douglas Qiu said, noting that it creates a risk of violence.
Beijing implemented the National Security Law on June 30 last year in response to the massive anti-government protests that swept Beijing in 2019.
China’s law is designed to punish subversion, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces.
The protest took place on the second day-the first day under the new law, although civil society groups have been holding demonstrations on July 1 for many years to support various issues, including democratic rights.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, promising to retain its extensive freedom and a high degree of autonomy. Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly denied restricting human rights and freedoms.
“We can only choose civil disobedience… a peaceful, rational and non-violent way to express our requirements for the national security law,” Chen Feige said softly.
“In order to uphold the belief in civil disobedience, I decided to confess my guilt and admit that I violated the’Evil Public Security Law’.”
According to the police, at least 370 people were arrested for illegal assemblies and other crimes that day, and 10 of them were involved in violating security laws.
Tang Yingjie was the first person to be convicted under the National Security Law. He was sentenced to 9 years in prison in July for “terrorist activities” and inciting secession.
On the same day, he was accused of driving a motorcycle towards the riot police, while holding a banner with the now banned protest slogan “Liberation of Hong Kong”. The revolution of our time”.
According to the Security Service, more than 150 people have been arrested under the National Security Law. Among them, 100 have been formally prosecuted.