HK’s ‘Captain America’ faces seven years in jail for shouting ‘revolutionary’ slogans

27-Oct-2021 Intellasia | The Telegraph | 5:02 AM Print This Post

A Hong Kong man has been found guilty of inciting succession from China simply for chanting political slogans, in the first ruling of its kind under a sweeping new law to snuff out dissent.

Ma Chun-man, dubbed “Captain America 2.0″ for wielding the superhero’s shield during protests, faces up to seven years in jail when he is sentenced at a later date.

Ma Chun-man, dubbed 'Captain America 2.0' for wielding the superhero's shield during protests, faces up to seven years in jail CREDIT: Twitter

Ma Chun-man, dubbed ‘Captain America 2.0′ for wielding the superhero’s shield during protests, faces up to seven years in jail CREDIT: Twitter

A judge convicted 31-year old Ma, a food delivery driver, of trying to separate Hong Kong from China by chanting slogans and displaying placards, as well as through interviews with reporters last year.

China imposed a national security law in response to massive and often violent democracy protests in the city two years ago, in a move that has brought mainland-style political speech curbs to the once outspoken business hub.

The city’s debut national security trial took place in July when a man was convicted of terrorism and secession after he rode his motorbike into police while flying a protest flag.

But Ma’s prosecution is seen as more of a legal weathervane because much like the vast majority of upcoming national security trials his offences did not involve a violent act and centred purely around his speech.

Prosecutors said slogans Ma used that incited secession included “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times”, “Hong Kong independence, the only way out”, “Hong Kongers, build our own country”, “One nation, one Hong Kong” and “All shall be valiant, start armed uprising”.

Ma’s lawyers said their client was merely trying to prove “exercising freedom of speech is not unlawful”. His slogans, they argued, were “empty words” and “a fool’s ravings” that did not reflect any plan or resources.

But Stanley Chan, one of the judges specially chosen by the government to try security cases, disagreed and said Ma acted like “a human recorder repeating political statements”.

“The defendant was constantly, unreservedly inciting others to commit acts that are explicitly banned in… the national security law,” said Chan.

Whether Ma had actual plans or committed acts to separate Hong Kong from China was irrelevant to convicting him of inciting others, Chan said.

“In a society with rule of law, no one enjoys infinite rights and freedom, otherwise the destructive and subversive effects would go without saying.”

Meanwhile, Amnesty International said it would shutter its Hong Kong offices after four decades because of the threat posed to staff by the national security law.

Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty’s board, said the decision to close had been made “with a heavy heart”.

She said the new law “has made it effectively impossible for human rights organisations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government”.

Hong Kong dubs itself “Asia’s World City” and has long advertised itself as a business-friendly gateway to mainland China with its own separate legal system and speech freedoms unseen on the mainland.

As a result, many international businesses, media groups and non-governmental organisations have used the island as a regional hub.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/hong-kongs-captain-america-faces-141658675.html

 

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