Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and DJ, Tam Tak-chi, was found guilty Wednesday of seditious speech and sentenced to jail for 40 months in Hong Kong’s District Court.
Tam Tak-chi is the first person since Hong Kong’s 1997 handover to stand full trial for sedition in Hong Kong.
Tam was arrested in July 2020 shortly after China had imposed a sweeping national security law on the city and has been in detention ever since, after being denied bail.
He was found guilty of 11 charges, which included uttering seditious words, holding or conniving to an unauthorized assembly, and public disorder. Tam was also fined HK$5,000 ($683).
According to the judgment, Tam reportedly used slogans such as “liberate Hong Kong” and “revolution of our times” at protests between January and July 2020. He was also accused of cursing at the police force.
Given Tam’s offenses took place in early 2020 during Hong Kong’s protests, Stanley Chan, the national security judge stated in his judgment that:
The court could not take away the social and political reality as the background for sentencing, which also allowed a better understanding of the seriousness of the defendant’s crime and its political purpose.
Tam announced on his Facebook page Wednesday that he would appeal the decision, stating that “my sentencing will affect Hongkongers’ freedom of speech.”
Human Rights Watch’s senior China researcher stated that Tam’s sentence “exemplifies the dizzying speed at which Hong Kong’s freedoms are being eroded.”