Opinion: Spare a thought for Joshua, Agnes, and Ivan this Christmas and show them solidarity

Just earlier this month, Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam were sentenced to jail for participating in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Agnes had to spend her 24th birthday in jail and all face more jail time.

It goes to show the sacrifices one must make when fighting for democracy and it shows the world that China, despite their public relations push, still rules with an iron fist and a draconian legal system.

While Covid-19 has brought a halt many democratic struggles around the world, legal challenges using flawed security laws have become the norm for authoritarian regimes around the world. But despite the security laws and despite the crackdown on pro-democracy leaders in Hong Kong, we still see their cause being taken up in the rest of the world. In places like Belarus and Thailand, protesters have challenged the political norm and the movements have flourished.

Brave young Thais have challenged social and political structures that have stagnated the country for decades. Hundreds of thousands of people have stood up to be counted, buoyed by the support from at home and around the world, unafraid of the legal challenges the country continues to throw at them.

We must express our thanks to the brave in Thailand and the dissidents around the world who kept the movement alive even when at its bleakest. The flame and torch has been passed and the youth will continue to keep the message alive.

We also have to give thanks to the demonstrators in Hong Kong who inspired, taught, and showed the way for the Thai youth demonstrators. Their courage, their struggle and their bravery against the CCP has undoubtedly inspired us here in Thailand and we need them to know that in their bleakest hour, we will not abandon them.

Particularly, Joshua has been a steadfast ally to the Thai pro-democracy movement. From organizing protests in front of the consulate in Hong Kong, to showing support online to the movement, Joshua has lifted us up when we were down and we must do the same.

This year has been strange for many of us and the prospects of a new coronavirus wave has cancelled many family gatherings and new years celebration. But for Joshua, Agnes and, Ivan, they do not even have that opportunity. They will spend the new years and Christmas in prison for the crime of wanting a better future.

It is important then that we show them our support, to send good thoughts this Christmas to them and to show solidarity.

Thank God that we still have each other, that we have next year to look forward to, and to see the light that the three represent and spark and fuel the flames of democracy.

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