Five Hong Kongers jailed for 19 months each for sedition

HONG KONG – A Hong Kong court has sentenced five former speech therapists to 19 months each for publishing seditious children’s books that incited hatred of the government, the South China Morning Post reported.

The former members of the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists were handed their punishments by Judge Wai-kin Kwok at the District Court on Saturday, according to the report.

They were convicted on Wednesday of conspiring to publish, distribute, display or reproduce seditious publications.

The two men and three women in their 20s were arrested in July last year for publishing three books with the intention of inciting “hatred or contempt” against the Hong Kong government and justice administration.

They were detained before a Saturday reading session for children by their union, and were held for more than a year without bail.

Their case continues a crackdown on free speech in the former British colony in the wake of the mass anti-government protests that swept the city in 2019.

China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong the following year, and city authorities have revived the long-dormant colonial era sedition offence as part of a campaign against dissent.

About 60 people have been arrested for sedition under the 1938 Crimes Ordinance since September 2020. BLOOMBERG