A court has cleared four protesters of obstructing police officers during a 2014 protest, where they burnt replicas of Beijing’s white paper interpreting Hong Kong’s One Country, Two Systems principle.

The activists were former Scholarism convenor Joshua Wong Chi-fung, former secretary general of Hong Kong Federation of Students Nathan Law Kwun-chung, People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip and League of Social Democrats vice-chairman Raphael Wong Ho-ming.

Joshua Wong
Photo: Facebook/Joshua Wong

They were accused of obstructing police officers who tried to put out the fire which was burning the props in front of the China Liaison Office on June 11, 2014.

They had pleaded not guilty and this was proven on Tuesday at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts.

Joshua Wong said it was first legal verdict of his life; he was charged a year after the incident, and ultimately proven not guilty after two years.

Raphael Wong asked the court for HK$68.9 in expenses – a play on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s nickname “689” – for the transport and photocopying costs caused by the “abuse of prosecution”.

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Power over Hong Kong

A controversial part of the white paper issued by the State Council stipulated that “there is no such thing as ‘residual power’,” referring to Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.

“The high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR is not full autonomy, nor a decentralized power. It is the power to run local affairs as authorized by the central leadership. The high degree of autonomy of HKSAR is subject to the level of the central leadership’s authorization.”

preliminary occupy

Another controversial part of the white paper concerned the loyalty of top officials.

“Under the policy of ‘one country, two systems’, all those who administer Hong Kong, including the chief executive, principal officials, members of the Executive Council and Legislative Council, judges of the courts at different levels and other judicial personnel, have on their shoulders the responsibility of correctly understanding and implementing the Basic Law, of safeguarding the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and of ensuring the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. In a word, loving the country is the basic political requirement for Hong Kong’s administrators,” it read.

The tightened grip revealed by the white paper led to protests, including an overnight sit-in protest in Central after the annual July 1 march that year. 511 were arrested.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.