New wave of lead­ers step into breach for jailed HK democ­racy ac­tivists

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

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.

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