Not only is Tam Tak-chi facing sedition charges for ‘inciting hatred, contempt against the government and causing discontent and dissatisfaction among the Hong Kong people’, he has been denied bail. He is not accused of any act of violence, theft, fraud or anything else most of us would consider a crime – simply of expressing ideas (and solidly mainstream ones at that). Yet he stays in jail until his trial in November. (He is already on bail for another charge, which presumably doesn’t help.)
That trial will be particularly interesting. For example, how will the prosecution prove that Tam has caused discontent and dissatisfaction among the population? Surely (his lawyers will argue), responsibility for the government’s extreme unpopularity lies with Carrie Lam and friends, not with any ordinary citizens?
Of course, if the court throws out the case (say on the grounds that the archaic colonial-era sedition law contravenes modern human-rights standards), the judge can expect a major backlash from the CCP and its cronies.
But maybe the CCP has no need to prove anything, and the court will find Tam guilty regardless of the idiocy of the charge, sentence him to a spell in prison, and make it clearer than ever that rule of law and freedom of speech are now a joke in Hong Kong.
Or will the court try to wangle its way out of it by finding him guilty but releasing him with a nominal sentence like a small fine – thus pissing off everyone?
One which subject: the HK Police have managed to piss off bus drivers.
Some mid-week reading…
In Atlantic, fascinating background to the HK Police attempts to rewrite the Yuen Long 7-21 story. Among other things, top government officials in the bunker were watching broadcast media that evening and were oblivious to reports being circulated on social media.
And the truth about 8-31: a Yellow Journalism interview with someone who was in Prince Edward Station when the police went berserk, and went through arrest and a stay at San Uk Ling detention centre.