Hong Kong activists’ bail renewed amid lessening freedoms

Hong Kong activists arrested in front of Beijing’s liaison office are demanding democracy and political freedom. They stood outside the district court after having their bail renewed.

Derek Lam, a member of the Demosisto political party that sprang from the Umbrella Movement, spoke about the eroding freedoms, “Actually, the cost of attending any kind of protest has become higher and higher, and different charges have been used in the past, two to three years and the sentence has become more and more harsh. So I think for activists, or even normal Hong Kong citizens, it would be a threat for them to take part in social issues and for them to take part in political affairs.”

They were arrested because they participated in a protest in November, where thousands gathered for a pro-democracy march.

Avery Ng, chairman Of League Of Social Democrats, spoke of his doubts for progress in Hong Kong in the wake of the new chief executive, who many believe was chosen so factions in Beijing could manipulate Hong Kong politics, “I do not have any high hopes for Carrie’s (Chief Executive elect Carrie Lam) administration in terms of bridging the gap. Bridging the gap is not a slogan. It is to do with actual real concrete policies. So if Carrie really wants to bridge the gap and mend the social divide, then enact social policy that can really mend the social issue, rather than using a few soundbites in front of the camera, while at the same time using the police and the DOJ (Department of Justice) to oppress other opinions.”

The November march was to send a message to Beijing that the people of Hong Kong demand democracy and human rights.