Chinese authorities arrest two men for “sedition” in a children’s book: report
Chinese authorities arrested two men He owns a children’s book which officials described as “seditious”.
Police and customs arrested the men, who ranged in age from 38 to 50, on March 3. 13 after searching their homes and finding multiple copies of a book that describes sheep keeping wolves out of the village. Wolves want to take over a village and eat sheep, drive sheep to fight against them.
Authorities interpreted the book as referring to Hong Kong and Beijing. And the officers invoked a law dating back to colonial times to justify sending the men to jail, according to QZ.
The BBC reported that the two men have been released on bail but must report to the police next month. The police seized several copies of the books during their search.
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The book, one of three in a series called Yangcun, caused a stir last year when a government-nominated judge ruled it constituted “intention to sedition” Five speech therapists were jailed for 19 months for publishing the book.
The court stressed that the punishment was for “harming or risking harm to the minds of children” and the possibility of sowing seeds of “instability”, according to The Independent.
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The judge said: “What the defendants did to children aged four years and over was, in fact, a brainwashing process aimed at guiding young children to accept their views and values.”
This week’s arrests will be the first simply for possessing the book, which critics argue represents a serious deterioration of freedoms in the country.
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Hong Kong remains a special administrative region of China with a “one country, two systems” understanding with Beijing, but the rights granted to the island’s citizens have been slowly eroded since 2020 with the implementation of National Security Act aimed at quelling widespread protests.
The use of an even more outdated law and vague interpretation of the phrase “sedition” showed the lengths to which Chinese officials would go in their efforts to curtail dissent, according to the professor. Johannes Chan, former Chair of Public Law, University of Hong Kong.
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“If there is a cartoon in [a newspaper] Considered seditious, every reader who kept a copy of the newspaper could be found guilty of the offense of possession, Chan, a visiting professor at University College London, told the Guardian. Freedom of Expression in the Basic Law or the Bill of Rights.