The anti-government rally on October 1, which marks China’s National Day, has helped raise around HK$1.1 million to support the fight for democracy, according to a key figure involved in the exercise.
Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, convenor of the Alliance for True Democracy, said several among the tens of thousands that took part in Sunday’s rally made generous contributions to a fund that seeks to help pro-democracy lawmakers and activists who had been caught up in legal cases.
Cheng called the outcome of the annual rally, which this year was billed as a “march against authoritarian rule”, very satisfactory, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The money raised will all go to the Justice Defence Fund, said Cheng, who is a trustee of the fund that was launched in 2016.
He revealed that a significant portion of the funds will be used on four disqualified lawmakers — Lau Siu-lai, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Dr. Edward Yiu Chung-yim — to help them pay the legal bills incurred in a court battle against the government.
The rest will be used to cover the litigation costs of ongoing lawsuits against nine other pro-democracy activists, including Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Dr. Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, the trio who inspired the 2014 Occupy movement, according to Cheng.
In related news, Wong Ching-tak, president of the University of Hong Kong students union, said on Monday that the Hong Kong Federation of Students is considering launching a fund to provide support for all pro-democracy campaigners, regardless of what their specific approach might be.
The union itself plans to donate to the new fund, Wong told a radio program. The money will not come from the union membership fees, he said, without going into detail.
Asked why the union and other similar organizations did not participate in Sunday’s demonstration, Wong said the reason was they believe the call for Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung to step down, one of the march’s main themes, was off the mark.
Yuen was a wrong focus, as he is not the source of the authoritarian politics currently seen in Hong Kong, Wong said.
Also the student unions wanted to call on society to pay attention to political prisoners other than the more-than-a-dozen young activists who were sentenced to jail in August.
By staying away from the rally, the student groups hope to turn the focus on the fact that there are many more activists who need help.
On Monday, about 20 members from the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China marched from Western Police Station to Beijing’s Liaison Office in Sai Wan.
The protesters demanded that Beijing release incarcerated dissidents and human rights defense lawyers, as well as set Liu Xia, wife of the late rights activist Liu Xiaobo, free on the mainland.
On Wednesday, the alliance will hold another rally called “The Mid-Autumn Democratic Lights Activity” at the Clock Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui, where they will review pro-democracy efforts in China.
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