Hong Kong therapists convicted of sedition over youngsters’s books | Hong Kong

A court docket in Hong Kong has convicted 5 speech therapists of manufacturing “seditious publications” within the type of a sequence of illustrated youngsters’s books that depicted sheep making an attempt to defend their village from wolves.

The convictions are the newest utilizing a colonial-era sedition offence that authorities have deployed alongside a brand new nationwide safety regulation to stamp out dissent.

Prosecutors mentioned the animals have been analogies for Hong Kong residents and mainland Chinese language respectively, and have been supposed to incite hatred in direction of the latter. The defence argued that the books’ content material was open to interpretation and that they didn’t name for armed rise up towards the federal government.

However in his verdict, the decide Kwok Wai-kin, who’s on a panel of nationwide safety judges chosen by town’s chief, wrote that the books have been written in a solution to information the thoughts of readers, and that the publishers didn’t recognise Beijing’s sovereignty over Hong Kong.

“The seditious intention stems not merely from the phrases, however from the phrases with the proscribed results supposed to consequence within the thoughts of kids,” Kwok wrote. “Youngsters might be led into perception that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] authorities is coming to Hong Kong with the depraved intention of taking away their house and ruining their pleased life with no proper to take action in any respect.”

The case involved three illustrated youngsters’s books printed by the now defunct Common Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists in 2020 and 2021.

One of many books, titled 12 Warriors of Sheep Village, seems to make reference to 12 Hong Kong protesters who tried to flee on speedboats to Taiwan however have been intercepted by Chinese language regulation enforcement in August 2020. The e-book depicts 12 sheep having to flee their village by boat after combating towards invading wolves, solely to be captured at sea and put into jail.

The 5 defendants – Lai Man-king, Melody Yeung, Sidney Ng, Samuel Chan and Fong Tsz-ho, all of their 20s – have been in custody with bail denied since July final yr.

Ah To (not his actual identify), a political cartoonist who relocated to the UK after the nationwide safety legal guidelines have been enacted in June 2020, mentioned the decision had brought about him anguish. “The so-called seditious publication is speech crime, it’s an evil regulation lengthy repealed within the UK,” he instructed the Guardian.

He mentioned it will be troublesome for artists in Hong Kong to guage whether or not their creations might be deemed seditious as a result of the standards have been subjective.

Amnesty Worldwide referred to as for the instant launch of the 5, saying the usage of sedition legal guidelines was a “brazen act of repression”.

It mentioned: “Writing books for kids just isn’t a criminal offense, and trying to teach youngsters about current occasions in Hong Kong’s historical past doesn’t represent an try to incite rise up.”

Supply hyperlink

Leave a Comment