Occupy jail terms a chilling warning, Human Rights Watch saysLocal | 24 Apr 2019 9:18 pm
While the charges against the eight Occupy movement leaders carried potential sentences of up to seven years, they were still seen as unusually harsh by activists in what they called an attempt to intimidate them into silence.
“The long sentences send a chilling warning to all that there will be serious consequences for advocating for democracy,” said Maya Wang, Hong Kong-based chief researcher for China at Human Rights Watch.
“The Beijing and Hong Kong authorities appear intent on eliminating the only pocket of freedoms on Chinese soil,” Wang said.
She cited a law against booing the Chinese national anthem and moves to amend the extradition law that could see suspects sent to China where they’d be unlikely to receive a fair trial.
Supporters and family members applauded the defendants as they entered the courtroom, then stood outside sobbing after the hearing before breaking into chants.-AP