A judge in Hong Kong has found five speech therapists guilty of publishing inflammatory books for children

A judge in Hong Kong has found five speech therapists guilty of publishing inflammatory books for children

After a two-month trial, a government-chosen Hong Kong judge found the books published by five speech therapists to be clearly seditious.

The judge said young readers of the books may believe that the Chinese authorities are coming to Hong Kong with “evil intent” to destroy the lives of the city’s residents.

The authorities interpreted the three books – one of them on sheep protecting their village from wolves – as carrying an explicit political message.

The case comes amid a crackdown on civil liberties since 2020, when China passed a new national security law.

Beijing says the law is necessary to stabilize the city, but critics say the law is aimed at stifling dissent.

The law facilitates the prosecution of protesters and reduces the city’s general autonomy, while increasing Beijing’s influence on the city’s political and legal decision-making.

Members of the group of five speech therapists have pleaded not guilty and have already spent more than a year in prison. Lai Man Ling, Melody Young, Sidney Ng, Samuel Chan and Fung Tsz are all founding members of the guild. Young adults between the ages of 25 and 28 can face up to two years in prison.

“In Hong Kong today, you can go to prison for publishing children’s books with wolves and lambs. These “seditious” sentences are an absurd example of the disintegration of human rights in the city”– said Gwen Lee, an employee at human rights organization Amnesty International.

The group was charged under a colonial-era sedition law that prosecutors rarely used until recently. (via BBC)

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