Laws and Justice

Joshua Wong Seeks Leniency in Hong Kong's Largest National Security Case

Main image to the post Joshua Wong Seeks Leniency in Hong Kong's Largest National Security Case

Joshua Wong Seeks Leniency in Hong Kong's Largest National Security Case

Prominent activist Joshua Wong appeared in court on July 5th, seeking a reduced sentence after pleading guilty in Hong Kong's largest national security case. Wong, along with 46 others, was charged in 2021 under a Beijing-imposed national security law for their involvement in an unofficial primary election.

The activists aimed to win a legislative majority to paralyze the government and force the city's leader to resign. Wong and 44 others admitted their guilt or were convicted, facing potential life imprisonment. However, those who pleaded guilty, including Wong, have a better chance of receiving shorter sentences.

Wong's lawyer argued that he should be considered an "active participant" as he neither organized nor assisted in the unofficial primary. Under the security law, active participants face a jail term of three to ten years. The lawyer suggested a one-third reduction in Wong's sentence due to his guilty plea, emphasizing his hope for reform and a break from his past.

Wong gained prominence in 2012 as a teenager leading protests against national education in Hong Kong schools. He became a notable figure in the 2014 Occupy Movement and garnered international support for the 2019 protests. Following the enactment of the national security law in 2020, Wong's political party disbanded.

The mitigation hearings for the convicted defendants are expected to continue until early August, with sentencing to follow. The national security law authorizes a range of sentences depending on the offense's severity and the defendant's role, from under three years for minor offenses to 10 years to life for "grave" offenses.

Critics argue that the case demonstrates the law's use against democracy activists, while the Hong Kong and Beijing governments claim it has restored stability following the 2019 protests.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09