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Seven pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong sentenced as China continues to clampdown on activists

Seven pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong jailed over unauthorised protest in 2020. (Photo: Reuters)

As many as seven campaigners for democracy in Hong Kong, “including former lawmakers,” have been sentenced to up to one year in jail “for their roles in a protest last year against the sweeping National Security Law imposed by China,” Reuters reported.

The news agency said that the seven had pleaded guilty to charges that included organizing the unauthorized assembly on July 1 last year when thousands of protesters took to the streets. While one of them, Figo Chan, a former convenor of the now-disbanded Civil Human Rights Front has been sentenced to one year in jail, others have been given six-10 months of imprisonment.

Beijing has been aggressively clamping down on pro-democracy outfits.

Earlier, a pro-democracy Hong Kong based newspaper, Apple Daily which had been critical of Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party too closed down as the authorities raided its offices and arrested staff members and editors

In July, the 32-year-old Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China — the organisation that leads the annual June 4 commemoration in the memory of 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown announced its decision to lay off all staff as Beijing intensified its clampdown on pro-democracy organisations and activists.

The pro-democracy organisation had been set up in May 1989 not only to support students but also citizens who sought democracy and freedom. It said in a statement that the political climate in Hong Kong in the past year had turned for the worse.