Christy Kwok, 16, Sha Tin College
The answer is yes – Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwan-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang should all be imprisoned for what they did.
While it’s hard to deny that they thought they were doing a service for the city when they acted illegally, we can’t ignore the consequences of their behaviour.
Take the Umbrella Movement, for example. The actions of these activists – they were a part of huge sit-ins across the city – stopped hundreds of workers from getting to their offices, and lots of important jobs from being done. Many people were injured during the movement, too, after clashes with the police. The pro-democracy activists are responsible for these disturbances.
The trio stormed the government headquarters compound at Tamar in 2014. It was an illegal protest that triggered the 79-day Occupy sit-ins. They acted irresponsibly and must pay the price for that. And they don’t have much to show for their actions!
I think the protesters showed civil disobedience, and the three student leaders are a bad influence on other young people. Their behaviour could mislead future generations, who may think that the only way to get things done is through violence or illegal means.
The jailing of the three pro-democracy activists means justice has been served. They did something wrong, and they caused a lot of problems for Hong Kong. So they got what they deserved.
Karl Lam, 16, German Swiss International School
Their imprisonment can be seen as a suppression of our rights. The trio were jailed for six to eight months following a successful appeal of their sentences by the Department of Justice.
Originally, Wong was sentenced to 80 hours of community service, Law received 120 hours, while Chow received a three-week suspended jail sentence. They’d already served the initial sentences, so I think the imprisonment is unreasonable. It’s a politically-motivated move supported by Beijing.
The central government’s thinking is obvious. The ruling means three of the city’s pro-democracy leaders have been slapped with a five-year ban from public office because of their criminal records. Law is an elected lawmaker, while Wong has plans to run for the Legislative Council in the future.
Hong Kong’s Basic Law gives us the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. The “One country, two systems” principle made us feel like we were living in a free and open city, but we have a puppet government and our rights are under serious threat now.
Wong, Law and Chow have become Hong Kong’s first prisoners of conscience. This sends a powerful message to young people that we ought to shut up and not join the campaign for more democracy.
The government is trying to stop people from voicing their political views. We need to praise our young leaders, not imprison them. While the future of Hong Kong is uncertain, one thing is clear: the activists’ unjustified and politically-motivated imprisonment is going to make the struggle for democracy much harder to win.