HK Occupy Central sentencing far too lenient

By Wendy Min Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/27 20:48:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The sentencing for the Occupy Central trio was handed down…finally! But I do not see the sentence of six to eight months in jail as just, especially if the acts were committed with the deliberate intentions of causing civil disruptions, economic losses and a boisterous rebellion against law and order.

I found it somewhat strange that Hong Kong's justice secretary had to insist that there was "no political motive involved" in such "stiff" sentencing. The sentencing is far too lenient, especially if you compare it with the seven policemen who have to do two years of prison time.

For these hooligans and rioters who blocked streets and beat law enforcers, such a high contrast in sentencing is not exactly the definition of justice. Six- to- eight months in jail for storming into a government headquarters compound during an illegal protest and further inflaming the 79-day Occupy Central protests in 2014 is far from stiff.

Of course, the common response from most Western media is one that sympathizes with these "freedom fighters" with emphasis on a sense of a righteous fight for democracy and an abrupt end to their "political careers."

Freedom fighters are those who go out of their way to fight for their country when it falls into the hands of colonizers and aggressors, not people who enjoy the advantageous policies offered to them by the state only to spit on them to show defiance.

Backed by Western forces, both financially and in terms of resources, it was an "impressive" movement on their part. They tore a great divide in Hong Kong society and caused much more than economic damage, since the dangerous brainwashing of young students and prolonging of this negative defiance will further create havoc for the city.

The protestors hijacked the voice of the majority of sane Hong Kong citizens who were actually badly affected by the movement and made some believe that sinister and detrimental behaviors can be justified in the fight for freedom.

While many believe that such sentencing will deter more people from protests and unrest, I have high doubts that this will be the case. When a sentence is this light, it will only fuel new student "leaders" to further destroy a city and country that they call home. Once backed by a sense of greater righteousness and when labeled as a "fighter for democracy," you can hardly pull these youngsters back.

While attention will always be placed on the trio, I can't stop thinking about the sentencing of the seven policemen. Although it was not right to use force against one protestor, a two-year sentence handed down by predominantly Western judges is a joke. It is true that the rule of law is a value of Hong Kong. When police broke the rules, the sentencing was tougher than usual. But knowing that protestors who were violent against the police and caused far greater damage to society are only sentenced to a few months in jail is an outrage.

Reading catchy headlines such as "Jailed," and "….Pro-democracy protest" and others was a great laugh. It was also comical to see the response from Taiwan, which dubbed this sentencing as "regrettable."

When you thought it couldn't get any lower, one Bari Weiss [an American journalist] suggested that the trio should be handed a Nobel Peace Prize. This is such a superb way to murder the very definition of a peace award, yet I'm not surprised at the response by Western media.

After serving out their sentences, the trio will carry on with their plan to defy authority in the hopes of bringing down Hong Kong. They will continue to have financial backing from those who wish to see unrest in the area and unfortunately, more will follow. Preparation needs to be made, and hopefully next time, there will be greater fairness in such sentencing.

The author is a freelance writer. She was born in China, raised in Australia and educated in China, Australia and France. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn



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