Hong Kong speech therapists sentenced to 19 months in prison for publishing ‘seditious’ books

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Last Updated on 3 months by Mukesh

Days after being convicted for publishing ‘seditious’ books, a Hong Kong court on Saturday sentenced the five speech therapists to nearly two years (19 months) in prison.

Reportedly, the five speech therapists have already been in jail for more than a year. Accordingly, they should be available for early release. However, given the trial has gained international prominence, experts believe that authorities might want to keep the group in jail for the full sentence, so as to send a message.

As reported by WION, in 2020 and 2021, the industry association General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists published articles about a “sheep community” that had been harassed and harmed. The fables, according to the prosecution, were allegories that “indoctrinated” kids to embrace independence and hate Beijing. 

Read more: Hong Kong speech therapists convicted for publishing ‘seditious’ books that make kids hate Beijing

“Seditious intention stems not merely from the words, but from the words with the proscribed effects intended to result in the mind of children,” District Judge Kwok Wai-kin had remarked when announcing the group guilty of sedition. 

WATCH | Hong Kong judge finds 5 speech therapists guilty over children’s books

After China passed the highly controversial National Security Law (NSL) for Hong Kong in 2020 amid a sea of protests, it was always believed that free speech will be culled in the former British colony.

The bill, which is now a law in Hong Kong, attempts to punish crimes of secession, sedition, and collusion with foreign forces. 

When the bill was passed despite ordinary Hong Kong folks taking to the streets for months, it was described by the pro-democracy activists as ‘the end of the Hong Kong that the world knew before’.

Akin to the speech therapists, Jimmy Lai, a 74-year-old media entrepreneur and the creator of the pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily, lost last week’s lawsuit to stop national security officials from checking his cell phones for journalistic data, setting a precedent that may apply to other cases. Lai even lost his bid for a jury trial. 

Read more: Under Beijing’s national security law, four Hong Kong locals arrested for sedition

(With inputs from agencies)

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