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Hong Kong jails terminally ill activist for attempting to protest Olympics

#Hong #Kong #jails #terminally #ill #activist #attempting #protest #Olympics

A Hong Kong activist with terminal cancer was jailed Tuesday on charges of attempted sedition over a planned Beijing Winter Olympics protest which was thwarted by a preventive arrest.

Koo Sze-yiu was arrested on February 4, the opening day of the Winter Olympics, after he announced he would protest outside Beijing’s Hong Kong liaison office.

The 75-year-old was formally charged the next day with “doing or preparing to do any act or acts with seditious intent” – a colonial-era crime – and was denied bail.

Chief Justice Peter Law jailed Koo for nine months on Tuesday, saying the “serious” case required a deterrent verdict.

The longtime activist was defiant in court, saying that “being incarcerated is a part of my life”.

“I don’t mind being a fighter for the democracy movement and I don’t mind being a martyr for democracy and human rights,” he said.

Koo is the latest activist to be jailed over Hong Kong’s crackdown on dissent, which was spurred by the national security law – imposed by Beijing following the city’s pro-democracy protests in 2019.

While sedition was a colonial law, the courts today treat it with the same severity as acts that endanger national security.

Koo’s lawyers had argued his planned protest was an exercise in free speech and that the incitement charge was unconstitutional.

But the judge said the slogans on his protest materials – which read “Down with the Communist Party and the one-party dictatorship” – were aimed at overthrowing the regime and were provocative given the context of the 2019 protests.

“During the movement, many people blamed the Chinese Communist Party, and despite the end of the movement, many have not yet recovered emotionally,” Law said.

“(The slogans) will once again evoke feelings of dissatisfaction and dissatisfaction.”

He added that Koo could have encouraged calls to boycott the Winter Olympics as well.

– Lifetime activist –

Born in the Chinese city of Zhongshan, Koo has spent most of his life engaged in activism, from opposing the Portuguese colonial government in Macau to fiercely criticizing Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong.

He has been detained in Hong Kong at least 11 times since 2000 and was diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2020.

His last sentence ended in July last year after serving five months for violating the government’s ban on protesters covering their faces during the 2019 protests.

The veteran activist went unbowed on Tuesday after his sentencing and told the court he had no regrets.

“The Chinese government has destroyed freedom and democracy in Hong Kong,” he said, criticizing China’s treatment of dissidents on the mainland – pointing to opaque court procedures and long prison sentences.

“Compared to what they experienced, my sacrifice is nothing.”

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#Hong #Kong #jails #terminally #ill #activist #attempting #protest #Olympics

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