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Hong Kong pro-democracy activists jailed for 2019 protests, as China continues crackdown

"I’m ready to face the penalty and sentencing," Hong Kong activist Martin Lee said.

Updated: April 16, 2021 - 8:51am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Ten prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activists on Friday were sentenced to jail for "unauthorized assemblies" in connection with the 2019 protests against the Chinese government exerting increasing authority over the territory.

Among those sentenced were Martin Lee, an 82-year-old activist and barrister who has been called Hong Kong's "father of democracy," and Jimmy Lai, a media mogul in Hong Kong who owns "The Apple Daily" a paper in the city, according to The Epoch Times.

"I’m ready to face the penalty and sentencing and I’m proud that I can walk with the people of Hong Kong for this democracy," Lee said. "We will walk together even in darkness."

Lai was sentenced to 14 months in jail while Lee received a suspended sentence of 11 months, according to The Guardian.

The protests were sparked in large part by an attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to have some people arrested in Hong Kong stand trial on the mainland. 

Lawyer Albert Ho received the longest sentence at 18 months. Ho said the judge treated the acts of assembly without proper approval as a "disruption to the social order." The other people sentenced received anywhere from eight to 12 to 14 months for their parts in the protests.

Last month, China significantly reduced the number of elected seats in the Hong Kong legislature, a move considered another effort by the Chinese Communist Party to limited the territory's year's-long democracy movement.

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