New wave of leaders step into breach for jailed HK democracy activists
Hong Kong, China - The jailing of Hong Kong’s best-known democracy activists has pushed a new wave of young leaders to take the helm as they seek to keep the movement’s message alive.
Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, who carved out international reputations with their campaigning, were both sent to prison last month in what rights groups slammed as politically motivated prosecutions.
Alongside fellow activist Alex Chow, they are serving sentences of between six and eight months for their roles in a protest that triggered mass Umbrella Movement rallies in 2014 calling for democratic reforms.
The jailings were a blow to the pro-democracy movement and seen as more evidence that Beijing is tightening its grip on semiautonomous Hong Kong.
But they also breathed new life into a campaign that had been struggling for momentum since the rallies failed to win concessions. Tens of thousands took to the streets to protest the jail terms last month, and activists who have long been at the right hand of Wong and Law are now stepping into the spotlight.
“We should try to do more, not only for them but also for our city and to show the government and the Chinese regime that we are not going to be scared,” Agnes Chow (20) said.
Chow and fellow Demosisto member Derek Lam said the democratic movement now needed to improve its connections at the grassroots level.
Lam (24), one of Demosisto’s most recognisable leaders, said the party ranks had swelled in the past two months.