Protester Sentenced To Nearly 6 Years For Promoting Hong Kong Independence From China
A Hong Kong activist, nicknamed “Captain America 2.0” for wearing the fictional superhero’s shield during pro-democracy protests, was sentenced Thursday to nearly six years in prison for promoting Hong Kong independence vis -to China.
Food delivery driver Ma Chun-man was convicted last month of inciting secession by chanting slogans, doing media interviews and posting signs.
Ma was sentenced to five years and nine months under a law that China imposed in June 2020, typically ending the largest and longest pro-democracy protests since the former colony returned. British rule to Chinese rule in 1997.
Amnesty International called Ma’s sentence “outrageous” and said the limits on free speech in Hong Kong are “dangerously disproportionate”.
Under the law, anything Beijing considers secession, terrorism, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces carries maximum sentences of life imprisonment.
China insists that all rights and freedoms remain intact, upholding the law was necessary to strengthen national security and end the violence it said was provoked by outside forces.
District Judge Stanley Chan, who sentenced Ma, defended the sentence, even though Ma’s actions were not violent.
“The accused was instigated by a politician and he ultimately became an instigator himself,” Chan said. “In this context, it is difficult to guarantee that there will be no more Ma Chun-mans.”
Ma pleaded not guilty and said in a letter to the court, âI am neither ashamed nor sorry for what I did. He said he was inspired by the pro-democracy protests last April.
One of Ma’s attorneys said he was not sure Ma would appeal.
Some information in this report comes from AFP and Reuters.