ESW Stands With Umbrella Nine

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

On November 19, 2018, the “Umbrella Nine” were brought before judges to account for their actions during the 2014 student-led protest movement known both as Occupy Central and the Umbrella Revolution.

Chu Yiu-ming (4th L), law professor Benny Tai (C) and sociology professor Chan Kin-man (3rd R) and other pro-democracy campaigners chant before entering the West Kowloon Magistrates Court in Hong Kong Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

At the beginning of the trial, the prosecution argued that the cofounders of the Occupy Central campaign (“the Trio”)—legal scholar Benny Tai Yiu-ting and sociologist Chan Kin-man, professors at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and retired pastor Reverend Chu Yiu-ming—conspired to block public roads as a calculated tactic to pressure the government.


The Trio faces counts of conspiracy to commit public nuisance, incitement to commit public nuisance, and incitement to incite public nuisance—three colonial-era criminal provisions that carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison each.


The six others are student leaders who face jail time. They include Tommy Cheung Sau-yin and Eason Chung Yiu-wah, lawmakers Tanya Chan and Shiu Ka-chun, and political leaders Raphael Wong Homing and Lee Wing-tat.


In recent years the Hong Kong government has prosecuted dozens of young protesters on charges associated to their participation in the movement and sentenced them to prison or community service. In some cases the government appealed the initial sentences for key people in the movement in order to later win harsher convictions.


Background


The Umbrella Nine campaign advocated for the democratic election of the city’s head of government. It became part of the large-scale prodemocracy Umbrella Movement protests, which were carried out in a peaceful manner for over 79 days between September and December 2014.