Occupy student leaders vow to keep up the fight

October 26, 2017 16:31
Joshua Wong and Nathan Law are greeted by media personnel after the former student leaders were freed on bail on Tuesday pending their appeals against jail sentences. Photo: HKEJ

Occupy activists Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Nathan Law Kwun-chung, who were freed on bail on Tuesday pending their appeals against jail sentences, vowed to continue their fight for greater democracy in Hong Kong.

Participating in an RTHK radio program a day after their release from prison, the former student leaders thanked their supporters and reminded people that they should never give up their right to freedom.

After spending 69 days in jail, Law and Wong fielded questions on various matters and shared their experiences of the time spent behind bars.

Asked about their chances of success in the planned appeals against their prison terms, the two youth activists gave somewhat mixed responses.

Law revealed that he has been preparing himself for the worst outcome and that he will not comment on the possibilities of a successful appeal.

Wong, on the other hand, was more confident that his lawyer can help him get a good result from the appeal.

However, he added that it is possible that he may have to go to jail again due to contempt charges in relation to the 2016 Mong Kok protest, Apple Daily reports.

Wong and Law had earlier been handed jail terms of six months and eight months respectively after the government successfully appealed against original sentences for community service.

The activists, who were given the punishment for storming a government compound in 2014 in the run-up the Occupy pro-democracy street protests, were released on bail this week pending appeals.

Commenting on the time in confinement, Wong said he experienced first-hand how in jail there is no individual thinking but only strict obedience.

He said that he once raised a question as to whether prisoners can have freedom to grow their hair beyond the six-millimeter stipulation, but was immediately warned by the correctional personnel to stop inciting other inmates.

Law said that although he could read newspapers and watch TV news in prison, or rely on friends and family to bring him news, the flow of information was still very slow.

In jail, the highly pressurized environment forces most inmates to only focus on the small things in life, such as what meal they should pick or how they should spend their pocket money, since that is “the only freedom they have”, he added.

As for himself, Law said he has been able to focus on reading and writing during his time in jail, and that he would probably start editing his manuscripts soon.

In other remarks, the young activist said that he had named his son, who was born after the Umbrella Revolution, using a Chinese term for "Aspiration", to remind himself and the people around him to not forget the aspirations to help Hong Kong.

Asked about their Demosisto party's plans for the upcoming Legislative Council by-elections, the activists said they hope a final decision on who can run in the elections can be made within this month.

After being freed on bail, Wong and Law, among other engagements, attended a meeting of the Co-location Concern Group, an entity that is fighting the Hong Kong government's planned controversial arrangements in relation to a cross-border express rail link, according to news website HK01.com.

Recalling the time he was locked up in police custody at the Bangkok airport in October 2016 after being refused entry to the country, Wong warned Hong Kong people of the potential risks stemming from the co-location arrangement, which would see mainland officials enforcing their laws in a designated area at the West Kowloon terminus.

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