On Wednesday March 3, he became the youngest person to plead guilty to taking part in riots during the pro-democracy protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019.
A 16-year-old Hong Kong teenager, aged 14 at the time of the incident, admitted to throwing a Molotov cocktail in the direction of the police. The teenager, whose identity cannot be revealed for legal reasons, was arrested in November 2019. He was convicted of arson and taking part in a riot.
The judge, who followed the recommendations of the prison services, decided to send the boy to a closed center representing, for young offenders, an alternative to prison. The duration of his detention, which should be from one to six months, will be fixed by the prison administration. “The court must strike a fair balance between [défendre] the interests of society and help young offenders ”, said Judge Ernest Lin.
More than 10,000 people have been arrested in connection with the huge protests that rocked the city for more than six months in 2018. Of these, around 40% are students.
Hong Kong at the heart of the parliamentary session
This conviction comes at a time when 47 defendants, including several leading figures of the Hong Kong protest, appeared, Wednesday, for the third day in a row, before magistrates who should indict them for subversion, prosecutions sentenced abroad as an illustration of Chinese repression.
These trials shortly precede the parliamentary session which could further tighten Beijing’s grip on Hong Kong. The nearly 3,000 deputies of the National People’s Congress (PNA) will, as every year, ratify as one man the decisions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in power, in the solemn framework of the People’s Palace in Beijing.
The 2020 session – delayed for the first time in forty years, due to an epidemic – had been, for him, the opportunity to proclaim the country’s victory over Covid-19. Hong Kong was at the center of the session last year, with the passing of a national security law that largely stifled dissent in the former British colony. The autonomous region may well return to the forefront this year, with a reform of the electoral system aimed at diluting the influence of district councilors.
In a poll at the end of 2019, while Hong Kong lived at the pace of pro-democracy protests, their seats were largely won by opponents of the pro-Beijing local government. They now represent the last counter-power in Hong Kong and the Chinese regime could seek to exclude them from the process of appointing the local legislative council, which it already controls to a large extent.
A senior Chinese official has already warned that Beijing wanted to ensure that only “Of the patriots” – supporters of the communist regime – can be elected in Hong Kong. The Chinese press announced that “Breaches” in the electoral system were going to be filled. The next legislative elections are scheduled for September in Hong Kong, which returned to the Chinese fold in 1997.