Nine Hong Kong pro-democracy activists on Wednesday were sentenced to six to ten months in prison for their role in an unauthorized assembly at last year's vigil for the victims of China's 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on protestors.
Three other activists received suspended sentences, as all 12 including former lawmaker Eddie Chu and Figo Chan, a former leader of the Civil Human Rights Front, known for organizing mass pro-democracy rallies, pleaded guilty to their charges.
According to one activist, such actions will become the new norm.
"The new normal now emerging is that pro-democracy activists continue to be prosecuted after being arrested, have new charges added for them, and their past behaviors raked up. I think the government continues to suppress our basic human rights and suppress different groups, such as our League of Social Democrats."
While the last two Tiananmen vigils were banned by police due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, the ban is also seen by many activists as an attempt to shut down any display of defiance to Beijing.
However, despite the ban, thousands turned to lighting candles across the city last year, while smaller crowds did the same in 2021.