Hong Kong – aA worker diagnosed with terminal cancer was jailed on Tuesday for attempted treason over a planned protest Which was thwarted by advance arrest. ku sze-yiu He was arrested on 4 February, the opening day of the Winter Olympics, when he announced plans to protest outside Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong.
The 75-year-old was formally charged the next day with “doing or preparing to do or attempting to do any act with seditious intent” – a colonial-era crime – and refused bail.
Principal Magistrate Peter Law on Tuesday jailed Koo for nine months, saying the “serious” case required a preventive sentence.
For a long time the activist was defiant in court, saying that “going to jail is a part of my life.”
“I don’t mind being a warrior 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 go to jailWhich has been prompted by a national security law – imposed by Beijing in 2019 after the city’s pro-democracy protests.
While sedition is a colonial-era law, courts now take it as seriously as acts that endanger national security.
Koo’s lawyers had argued that their planned protest was an exercise in freedom of expression and that the charge of treason was unconstitutional.
But the magistrate said the slogans on his protest material – which read “Down with the Communist Party and one-party dictatorship” – were intended to overthrow the regime, and were provocative in the context of the 2019 protests.
“During the movement, many blamed the Chinese Communist Party, and despite the movement ending, many have not yet recovered emotionally,” Law said.
“(Slogans) will once again incite feelings of discontent and discontent.”
He said Koo could also have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics.
Born in the Chinese city of Zhongshan, Kuo has spent much of his life in activism, from opposing the Portuguese colonial government in Macau to fiercely criticizing Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong.
He has been jailed in Hong Kong at least 11 times since 2000, and was diagnosed with terminal rectal cancer in 2020.
His latest term in prison ended in July last year when he served five months for violating the government’s ban on protesters covering their faces during the 2019 protests.
Senior activists bowed down after the sentencing on Tuesday, telling the court that they had no remorse.
“The Chinese government has destroyed freedom and democracy in Hong Kong,” he said, and destroyed China’s treatment of dissidents in the mainland – pointing to opaque trials and lengthy prison sentences.
“My sacrifice is nothing compared to what they have experienced.”