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First Christian clergy convicted for sedition in Hong Kong

PastorGarry Pang Moon-yuen claimed himself 'victorious' while adding that 'history would acquit him'
Pastor Garry Pang Moon-yuen is the first Christian clergy jailed in Hong Kong for sedition since Beijing imposed the draconian National Security Law

Pastor Garry Pang Moon-yuen is the first Christian clergy jailed in Hong Kong for sedition since Beijing imposed the draconian National Security Law. (Photo: YouTube via HKFP)

Published: October 28, 2022 11:26 AM GMT
Updated: October 29, 2022 05:54 AM GMT

A Protestant pastor became the first Christian clergy in Hong Kong to be convicted of sedition since the city’s pro-Beijing administration imposed the draconian national security law to crush the pro-democracy movement two years ago.

Magistrate Cheng Lim-chi at the West Kowloon Court jailed Pastor Garry Pang Moon-yuen, 59, for 10 months for sedition and three months for seditious speech on Oct. 27, reported Hong Kong Free Press.

Pastor Pang reportedly claimed himself “victorious” though he accepted the verdict of a one-year jail term.

Pang said that he was still victorious in terms of “safeguarding conscience, defending freedoms, human rights, and rule of law,” while adding that “history would acquit him.”

Pang was arrested for his comments during the hearing of activist Chow Hang-tung on Jan. 4, which was related to the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, and videos and live streams on his YouTube channel.

Pang’s channel included live streams outside court buildings.

In one of his videos, he had criticized magistrate Amy Chan for “threatening to silence” people when she ousted attendees who clapped during the Chow Hang-tung trial.

Cheng used court records that showed that Magistrate Chan had warned the audience at the first instance of applause and removed them from the courtroom only at the second instance when it was repeated.

Magistrate Cheng stated that Pang had “selectively interpreted” the court proceedings and misled his audience while slandering Chan in his YouTube videos.

He had admitted to having said, “You [magistrate Amy Chan] have lost your conscience,” during Chow’s hearing.

While handing down the sentence, Cheng also stated that Pang had treated claims as facts without verifying their genuineness and had made baseless criticisms of the court.

Pang had said in one of his videos that judge Chan barred people who wore yellow masks or a shirt with an umbrella logo from entering the courtroom.

“[The defendant] had a doctorate and had traveled to different places around the world, he is not someone without life experience.”

“There is no way he would just take other people’s word and conclude that the court did not comply with the law,” Cheng said

The judge also observed that Pang “demeaned the magistrate” by openly criticizing her and it was definitely not a case of “a slip of the tongue.”

Pang declared in the open court that he would respect the magistrate’s ruling and had nothing to add when asked if he had anything to say about the verdict.

During his trial on Sep. 15, Pang had said that “What’s going on in the court right now is not only a legal battle over sedition but also a battle to defend human rights and freedoms, a battle of safeguarding conscience.”

He further added that if a citizen’s desire for change in the legal system were to result in a conviction for sedition, Hong Kong’s rule of law would crumble.

Along with Pang, Chiu Mei-Ying, 68, a housewife, was given a three-month sentence for her seditious remarks.

The judge said the pair, Pang and Chiu, knowingly and intentionally made remarks that were seditious, bringing hatred and contempt against the administration of justice.

Besides the national security law, Hong Kong pro-Beijing administration has used the British colonial-era sedition law, not in use for years, to suppress dissent since the pro-democracy movement engulfed the city in 2019.

Hundreds have been arrested, jailed, and forced into trials for their support of democracy and freedoms in Hong Kong guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration that led to the British handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.

Among the prominent Catholics facing trials are media tycoon Jimmy Lai and outspoken China critic 90-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen.

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