For the student activists who led Hong Kong’s pro-democracy “Umbrella Movement” in 2014, the aftermath is starting to take a dark turn.
Joshua Wong, 19, and Alex Chow, 25, were both found guilty of unlawful assembly by local courts today (July 21).
In addition, 23-year-old Nathan Law, who currently chairs the pro-independence party Demosisto, was convicted of inciting others to join in the protests. If imprisoned for more than three months, his bid for a seat in Hong Kong’s legislative council in September will be disqualified, according to the Legislative Council Ordinance (pdf, p. 27).
Wong, Law, and Chow were each instrumental in leading the “Occupy Central” protests that swept Hong Kong in 2014, in which thousands of residents took to the streets to rally in support greater democratic freedoms, and against political encroachment from the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing.
The 79-day protest led to thousands of arrests, but also started a new wave of political activism in the city. According to the government’s statement (pdf), a total of 1.2 million people might have participated in the protests, with tens of thousands of people gathering on the streets at the movement’s peak in late September 2014.
The three activists have each been released on bail and are awaiting a full sentencing. It’s not yet clear whether they will face jail time.