Hong Kong activist pleads guilty to sedition charges News
Voice of America, Cantonese Service, Iris Tong, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Hong Kong activist pleads guilty to sedition charges

Hong Kong activist Chu Kai-poon pleaded guilty on Thursday to two counts of sedition at Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts. Chu was previously arrested on November 27 by national security police at the Hong Kong International Airport for wearing a shirt with “seditious wording.” He was then charged on November 29 with two counts of sedition. Chu faces a maximum of two years in prison under Hong Kong’s sedition law.

Chu wore a long-sleeve shirt with the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” on it when he was arrested. During a recorded interview, Chu said that he interpreted “liberating Hong Kong” as reverting back to British colonial rule and gaining independence from Chinese governance. He also believed that a “revolution” was a means to “Liberate Hong Kong.” Chu remains in custody and will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Hong Kong’s High Court found in July 2021 that the phrase “Liberate Hong Kong” could incite secession. In addition, the Hong Kong government stated in July 2020 that the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” suggests “‘Hong Kong independence’, or separating the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from the People’s Republic of China, altering the legal status of the HKSAR, or subverting … State power.” The government wrote:

The Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the [HKSAR] prohibits secession, subversion of state power and other acts and activities which endanger national security. The HKSAR Government calls upon members of the public not to defy the law.

The Beijing-imposed National Security Law was promulgated and applied in Hong Kong on June 30, 2022 to safeguard national security. On December 27, the Hong Kong government told the UN Human Rights Council that Hong Kong has taken “a major turn from chaos to governance” since the implementation of the National Security Law.

At least 265 individuals aged between 15 and 90 have been arrested under the National Security Law since its implementation. On January 2, Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and tycoon Jimmy Lai pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiring to collude with foreign forces, which violates the law. On December 28, Hong Kong’s High Court sentenced two student offenders to six years in prison for conspiracy to cause an explosion and to commit terrorist activities respectively. The prosecution charged seven activists from “Returning Valiant,” a pro-independence group, with conspiracy to commit terrorist activities under the National Security Law.