China

Joshua Wong: Hong Kong protest leader avoids jail

Leaders of Hong Kong"s "Umbrella Revolution" (L to R) Joshua Wong, 19, Nathan Law, 23, and Alex Chow, 25, shout slogans upon their arrival outside the Eastern Court in Hong Kong on August 15, 2016. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Their arrest sparked a mass pro-democracy movement that occupied parts of Hong Kong for almost three months

Three student leaders in Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, who led mass rallies and sit-ins in 2014, have been sentenced.

Joshua Wong, who became the teenage face of the protests, was given 80 hours of community service for unlawful assembly.

Nathan Law was sentenced to 120 hours, while Alex Chow was given a three week prison sentence suspended for a year.

The three were facing a maximum of two years in jail.

Wong, 19, as well as Law and Chow climbed over a fence into the forecourt of the Hong Kong government complex on 26 September 2014.

'Concern for society'

Their arrest helped trigger mass pro-democracy protests, which came to be known as the Umbrella Movement, that brought parts of the city to a standstill for nearly three months.

The movement called on Beijing to allow fully free elections for the leader of the semi-autonomous territory. However, it failed to win any concessions from Beijing on political reform.

"The court believes the three defendants are expressing their views and demands genuinely out of their political beliefs or their concern for society," said district court judge June Cheung.

"Their aim and motive is not for their own interest or to hurt other people."

Law is among several young activists who are now looking to enter mainstream politics. The sentence means he will be able to contest upcoming legislative council elections.

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