League of Social Democrats Vice-chairman Raphael Wong has written a letter from behind bars, in which he admitted to having cried in prison and expressed gratitude towards those who are still protesting on the streets.

Wong was sentenced to jail for 13 months earlier this month for his involvement in the Northeast New Territories demonstrations. Protesters objected to then-Legislative Council Finance Committee chair Ng Leung-sing’s attempts to end a filibuster by the pro-democracy camp over the development plans.

In a letter penned on August 22, and published by administrators on his Facebook account on Tuesday, Wong said it was difficult not to feel low-spirited, as he did not know when he would regain his freedom. He said he was undergoing a heavy prison term for his first sentence, and is awaiting sentencing for two other major cases.

Photo: 黃浩銘 Raphael Wong via Facebook.

“A lot of people say [I] am very strong, but I don’t feel that way – at least, I’ve already cried in prison. It’s not because I have regrets or am afraid, but because I miss my loved ones – and also when I heard that tens of thousands took to the streets, that was certainly moving!”

‘Only the beginning’

Wong said he has been chatting with prisoners, which “broadened his horizons” and deepened his understanding of society. He also said that, although he agrees to some extent that heavier sentences act as a deterrent, harsh governance and laws will only result in chaos.

Raphael Wong. Photo: League of Social Democrats/Facebook.

Wong also said that he is only given one pro-establishment paper to read and could only watch “CCTVB” – a nickname for local station TVB used by Hongkongers who believe it has a pro-Beijing stance.

“Therefore, I did not know what the situation was like at the rally outside the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre, or that there were tens of thousands of people that turned up to the march. I have to thank each of you who still have the confidence to be on the streets – you’re the reason I persist…”

Wong said he plans to read books and and exercise while in prison: “Friends, this is only the beginning of the story. Martin Luther King Jr. said to meet challenges with our hardship, and to let love win over hate. I do not hate, and I wish to fight together with all of you with love, in search of better days!”

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.