Reuters reports that the Vatican’s top man in Hong Kong warns Catholic missions that they face possible persecution in the city in future. The Church in Hong Kong has moved half a ton of documents out of the city and is considering new ownership structures for real estate in case Beijing clamps down on religious organizations deemed to be ‘colluding with foreign forces’.
Upon prompting by the NatSec Police, the new-look vaguely patriotic Bar Association asks 35 barristers to explain why they were paid by the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund when defending – officially pro-bono – people arrested during the 2019 protests. (The fees of several thousand bucks a day seem fairly modest.)
A preacher is denied bail for the third time while awaiting trial for ‘seditious’ comments at a courtroom protest and on YouTube.
And six months in prison for a guy who posted messages on social media – which few seemed to pay attention to – ‘inciting others to knowingly take part in unauthorised assemblies and to cause obstruction of public places’.
Is there any expression of opinion that is not ‘incitement’? Any criticism that is not sedition? An SCMP editorial boldly suggests that the phrase ‘Hong Kong add oil’ should not be proscribed despite a prosecution witness in a sedition trial last year saying such phrases were…
…capable of inciting others to break the law depending on the circumstances of their use.
The trial of speech therapists’ for publishing a ‘seditious’ children’s cartoon book begins. According to InMediaHK (in Chinese), prosecutors say the work describes Hong Kong and China as ‘sheep village’ and ‘wolf village’ respectively, incites hatred against Mainlanders, attempts to alienate children and adults from China, and to undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the stability of Hong Kong…
The prosecution also alleged that the picture book promoted separatism and portrayed China as a surveillance state ruled by a brutal dictator.
Assuming the materials don’t actually mention Hong Kong and China or governments by name – which as far as I have seen they don’t – prosecutors, or the public, can only infer these meanings. And you would only infer them if you thought there was some truth to the allegory, just as that’s the only way you would feel Animal Farm attacks Stalin.
(Standard story here. Thread on comparison with Xinjiang kids’ books here.)
On a brighter note, whiny (see quotes) entitled civil servants are upset that they won’t get an up-to 7.26% pay rise.
Personally, I think it’s fine to blame the left footers; they’re always up to no good!
In the Sheep Village saga, the prosecutor has an interesting view of history by describing the 2019 protest movement as “anti-fugitive”.
“The prosecution also alleged that the picture book promoted separatism and portrayed China as a surveillance state ruled by a brutal dictator.”
Does the prosecution get recommended for charges then, for insinuating the portrayal of an unnamed China as a “surveillance state ruled by a brutal dictator”?
Oh the conundrums and linguistic gymnastics.
Hong Kong may not add oil. But certainly the mainland can add oil. But the question is, can Hong Kong and the mainland add oil together? Can HK add oil with special Chinese characteristics? Where is the line drawn between patriotism and non patriotism? Where is the border between earnestness and irony?
About 20 years too late for this realization…