Hong Kong court sentences activist to 3 months prison over sedition charges News
Voice of America, Cantonese Service, Iris Tong, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Hong Kong court sentences activist to 3 months prison over sedition charges

Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts sentenced Hong Kong activist Chu Kai-poon to three months in prison on Wednesday, according to local media outlet The Witness. Chu pleaded guilty on January 2 to two counts of sedition after national security police arrested him on November 27 for wearing a shirt with the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” at the Hong Kong International Airport. Hong Kong’s High Court previously found in July 2021 that the phrase “Liberate Hong Kong” could incite secession.

In sentencing Chu to three months in prison, Chief Magistrate So held that Chu had consciously breached Hong Kong laws since he purchased his shirt with the slogan from Taiwan. He said that Chu’s actions risked revitalizing the 2019 Hong Kong protests and that the High Court had found “Liberate Hong Kong” to be seditious language before Chu was arrested.

On the other hand, So said that Chu had committed a sedition offense of lower gravity than that other sedition cases. Chu wore his shirt with the slogan in public for slightly less than five and a half hours, which is a considerably short duration. Furthermore, Chu was not politically affiliated. Chu’s sentence was commuted to three months from 4 and a half months since he had pleaded guilty.

The 2019 Hong Kong protests erupted over the Hong Kong extradition bill that proposed to allow the transfer of fugitives from Hong Kong to jurisdictions that lack an extradition deal with Hong Kong, such as mainland China. The bill was subsequently withdrawn by former Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on September 4, 2019 after a series of mass protests broke out.

On December 8, Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal granted seven activists, including Jimmy Lai, a certificate to appeal against their conviction of participating in an unauthorized assembly. The unauthorized assembly occurred in the broader context of the 2019 protests. On 29 November, Hong Kong’s District Court sentenced a Hong Kong woman, Lee Yan-yan, to five and a half years in prison over rioting, perverting the course of justice and wounding with intent in a “vigilante” incident on September 21, 2019. The “vigilante” incident involved pro-democracy supporters gathering to condemn police inefficiency in responding to the 2019 Yuen Long mob attack. The 2019 Yuen Long mob attack also occurred in the broader context of the 2019 protests.