A teenager in Hong Kong was sentenced to a training center for breaking the colonial-era sedition law and insulting both the Chinese flag and national anthem.
18-year-old Chui Hoi-Chun will serve at least six months at a training center, an alternative to prison sentences for offenders aged between 14 and 20. However, depending on his conduct, he could serve up to three years at the training center.
The sentencing came after he pleaded guilty to acts of sedition through posts on YouTube, Discord, and the discussion forum LIHKG between May 28, 2020, and September 17, 2022. He also pleaded guilty to three counts of insulting the Chinese flag and national anthem “March of Volunteers,” including posting altered lyrics.
Chief Magistrate Victor So said Chui's posts were “anti-regime” and included profanities aimed at mainland-China citizens and President Xi Jinping. The teenager's posts also called for the independence of Hong Kong, which the court found to be “extremely insulting.”
“If the defendant's thoughts were not curbed as soon as possible, it would cause instability and division in society,” So ruled.
The defense asked for a lenient sentence, arguing that he was 16 when he began breaking the law and he did so because he was “immature.”
The judge said that sending Chui to a training center would “correct” his behavior and that sending him to a rehabilitation or detention center as suggested by the defense would be a poor reflection of his offenses.
The national security law imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing does not cover sedition. Chui was charged under the sedition law that was passed when Hong Kong was under British colonial rule. The law, which was last amended in the 70s, carries a maximum prison sentence of two years.