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Asia Minute: Hong Kong’s latest crackdown on dissent

Ronson Chan hong kong
Vincent Yu/AP
/
AP
FILE - Ronson Chan, speaks outside his office after being released from a police station in Hong Kong, on Dec. 29, 2021. Chan, the chairman of Hong Kong's largest journalists' association was arrested Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, for allegedly obstructing police and public disorder while reporting, the latest case sparking concerns of declining media freedom in the city. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

Two developments this week in Hong Kong are the latest evidence of a continuing crackdown on freedoms in the city.

The chairman of Hong Kong’s largest journalists' group has been arrested.

Local media report Ronson Chan and a colleague went to cover a meeting of public housing apartment owners when they were stopped by police and asked to present their identification cards.

Chan refused and was arrested on charges of obstructing police and public disorder.

On the same day, a Hong Kong court convicted five speech therapists of sedition — based on three illustrated children's books they published.

The books feature cartoons of sheep and wolves — and reference actual events — from pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong to a strike by local medical workers who urged Hong Kong to close its borders with mainland China at the start of the pandemic.

The authors call them allegories.

The prosecution called them stories that spread separatism and stirred hatred and opposition to the government.

The court sided with the prosecution.

Amnesty International called the verdict a "brazen act of repression," writing that “attempting to educate children about recent events in Hong Kong’s history does not constitute an attempt to incite rebellion."

The five speech therapists face two-year jail sentences when they are sentenced on Saturday.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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