A Hong Kong court ruled on Tuesday that a Chinese University of Hong Kong student was guilty of attempting sedition after obtaining a Banner of The Pillar of shame, according to reports from local media. According to local news media, the Witness, the student was sentenced to 6 months in prison after pleading guilty to the charge of sedition. The student had planned to display a Banner of the Pillar of Shame – a sculpture which once stood on Tiananmen square to commemorate 1989 protests. The Witness, a local newspaper, reported that after the student’s conviction, she was sentenced to 6 months in prison. Police also discovered photos and memos on the student’s mobile phone, which showed that she planned to take part in protests. Ahead of the June 4 anniversary of the 1989 protests, Hong Kong police cracked down on planned protests.
During sentencing, Magistrate Law reasoned that this case was of a severe nature because the protest involved the participation of foreign activists. The court argued that the sensitive content of the Pillar’s banner could cause emotions. The magistrate said that, because the student had been well-prepared and that the court found that she was well-planned by the court, the sentence should be deterrent enough. However, the magistrate also noted that the banner did not encourage violence because the Pillar of Shame had been displayed for many years prior to its December 2021 removal.
Upon her conviction, the Executive Director of
Zhou Feng-suo claimed that he provided the banner to the defendant for the memorials for the 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident.
Recently in August, another local news media Singtao Daily, reported that the national security police had planned for the arrest of Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, the creator of the Pillar of Shame. Galschiot asked authorities to clarify whether charges had been filed against him. The police refused to disclose any details on individual cases, claiming that any disclosure might prejudice any pending or future criminal investigations and proceedings.Human Rights in ChinaApart from an attempt to commit sedition, the prosecution also charged the student with one count of sedition. The prosecution claimed that the student had committed sedition when he publicly displayed a sketch of a suspect in a suicide attack on Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day. Magistrate Law requested the withdrawal of this accusation.