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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

5 HK Unionists Convicted Of Sedition Over Children's Books

Five Hong Kong unionists were found guilty of sedition on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, for producing a series of illustrated children's books that portrayed the city's democracy supporters as sheep defending their village from wolves, Isaac Lawrence reported for the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Photo Insert: In one book, called "Defenders of the Sheep Village", a group of wolves try to occupy a village of sheep, who fight back and drive their attackers away.

The convictions are the latest using a colonial-era sedition offense which authorities have deployed alongside a new national security law to stamp out dissent.

The prosecution focused on members of a speech therapists' union who produced three illustrated e-books aimed at explaining Hong Kong's democracy movement to children.

In one book, called "Defenders of the Sheep Village", a group of wolves try to occupy a village of sheep, who fight back and drive their attackers away. In another, the wolves are portrayed as dirty and bringing disease to the sheep's village.

Lai Man-ling, Melody Yeung, Sidney Ng, Samuel Chan, and Fong Tsz-ho, all founding members of the union, were charged with sedition and held in jail for more than a year ahead of their verdict.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

After a two-month trial Kwok Wai-kin, a District Court judge handpicked by the government to try national security cases, found the five guilty of conspiring to spread seditious content.

"The seditious intention stems not merely from the words, but from the words with the proscribed effects intended to result in the mind of children," Kwok wrote in his judgment.

Government & politics: Politicians, government officials and delegates standing in front of their country flags in a political event in the financial district.

"Children will be led into belief that the PRC (People's Republic of China) Government is coming to Hong Kong with the wicked intention of taking away their home and ruining their happy life with no right to do so at all," he added.

Gwen Lee of Amnesty International, which recently left Hong Kong because of the national security law, described the convictions as "an absurd example of unrelenting repression. Writing books for children is not a crime, and attempting to educate children about recent events in Hong Kong's history does not constitute an attempt to incite rebellion."

Business: Business men in suite and tie in a work meeting in the office located in the financial district.

During the trial, prosecutors argued the books contained "anti-China sentiment" and were aimed at "inciting readers' hatred against the mainland authorities." They also said the books were meant to encourage Hong Kongers to discriminate against "mainland Chinese people living in Hong Kong."

The defense argued that the sedition offense was vaguely defined and that each reader should be allowed to make up their own mind about what the characters in the books represent.

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