Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Hong Kong mourns again as Stand News gets killed off too :(

Hong Kong today in thirteen Tweets:-
Reuters' James Pomfret at 9:03am: "Breaking: ongoing police raid on [Hong Kong']s respected and widely followed [Stand News].  Police have sealed off its 14/f bureau and searching the offices given an “ongoing operation”. This is another major blow to press freedom under the [national security law] security crackdown just before year end".
Pomfret again, this time at 9:11am: "When asked for details of the raid and the arrests [of six people associated with Stand News,] a police liaison officer on the 14f repeatedly said he’s not clear what’s happening, before forcing all reporters to leave. “Maybe you can see the news”he said. @StandNewsHK  #JournalismIsNotACrime"

Washington Post Hong Kong and Southeast Asia bureau chief Shibani Mahtani at 9:59am: "And so the year ends as it started, with more pre-dawn raids and arrests designed to invoke an absolute sense of hopelessness in Hong Kong. The new year has become something not to be celebrated; instead we brace for what comes next..."
Independent photographer-journalist Laurel Chor at 10:02am: "Will endless retweeting make people pay attention? Make them understand the severity and importance of what’s happening? Does public outrage, at home or abroad, make a difference for [Hong Kong], or is [Hong Kong] now just a cautionary tale? I don’t know. But I also don’t know what else to do."
AFP's Xinqi Su at 10:11am: "This is the first national security police operation against a news outlet wielding the allegation of “seditious publications” under the Crimes Ordinance from colonial era. When [Apple Daily] was raided [in August of last year] it was #NSL’s “collusion with foreign forces” and [a] sedition charge was only added [against it yesterday]."
Hong Kong barrister Senia Ng at 10:14am: "[The National Security Law (NSL)] was a piece of law added into [Hong Kong] via Annex III of the Basic Law. There were at least two possible routes: (1) the operation of the NSL would be a separate regime, and existing criminal laws would remain unaffected; (2) NSL would gradually merge with existing laws."
Ng's follow up Tweet a few seconds later: "Which of these routes would be taken was unclear at the time of implementation; it was not expressly stated. Now, it seems pretty clear which pathway we're on"... 
Activist-author Kong Tsung-gan at 1:10pm: "Former Apple Daily exec Chan Pui-man, already remanded in custody pending trial on NSL charges, was also arrested [again] this morning, in prison. She’s suspected of writing a “seditious” article published in @StandNewsHK. She’s also the wife of Stand News’ former editor-in-chief[, Chung Pui-kuen.]"
A Tweet from yours truly at 2:01pm: "I stand the law’s good servant but the people’s first. For the law must serve the people, not the people the law." A good time to remember the April 2021 statement of Margaret Ng, one of today's Stand News arrestees, and the existence of Citizen News."
Activist Heiky Kwan at 2:51pm: "[The Hong Kong Government] has been targeting the media, making arrests/ shutting down publications that resist pro-Beijing influences & are fearless in posting articles critical of the govt. After Apple Daily [and] RTHK, @StandNewsHK was next. They were raided today. #WhatsHappeningInHongKong".
AFP News Agency at 7:20pm: "#UPDATE Hong Kong pro-democracy media outlet Stand News said Wednesday it will close after a police raid and arrests of seven current and former staff members, in the latest blow to the city's rapidly-shrinking press freedoms".
Documentary director-photographer Arman Dzidzovic at 9:22pm: "I want to highlight @StandNewsHK['s] iconic report on the [July 21st, 2019] Yuen Long attack because it makes it clear how far [Hong Kong] press freedoms have fallen, the reporter filming [Gwyneth Ho Kwai-lam] is in jail, Stand News is gone, and this livestream is about to be deleted from their website forever". 
Citizen News' Alvin Lum at 10:36pm: "From 11pm onwards, @StandNewsHK's website and social media will official close. (Twitter handles seem to be the first to go down)".
And, actually, Stand News' Twitter account vanished even before 11pm came along. :(

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

More blows landed in Hong Kong but please don't count its people out yet!

Two pages of the June 5th, 2021, edition of Apple Daily
This new, British colonial era charge against Lai and co involves "seditious publications"; with their standing accused of conspiring to "print, publish, sell, offer for sale, distribute, display and/or reproduce seditious publications".  As far as I can tell, what it means in plain English is that they were involved in the printing, publishing selling, offering for sale, distributing, displaying and/or reproduction of issues of Apple Daily, the openly pro-democracy newspaper which was in print for some 26 years before it was shut down by the authorities; with those between April 1st and June 24th of this year being deemed to have been "seditious".  
A reminder: April 1st is April Fool's Day but this is no April Fool's joke, alas.  Another reminder: Apple Daily's final edition came out on June 24th.  A third reminder: Jimmy Lai was already behind bars prior to April 19th.  Specifically, after being arrested last December and denied bail, but then allowed out for a few days later that month, he was put back in custody on December 31st and has remained behind bars ever since!  So it does seem particularly unjust that he's accused of committing crimes even when he was already languishing in a government detention facility.  
Also, as Nikkei Asia's Hong Kong-based deputy editor, Zach Coleman was moved to Tweet: "As the rationale of denying Jimmy Lai bail and keeping him locked up was to eliminate the risk of him further offending against national security, sounds like there be some problems with the HK jail...."!  So, actually, this latest charge looks to provide added grist for the mill for critics of the Hong Kong government, particularly those who accuse it of waging "lawfare" against pro-democracy Hong Kongers and the media.

Given the present state of affairs, it would seem that all hope is lost for Hong Kong.  And yet, the Hong Kong Free Press' offerings today includes an opinion piece by Kent Ewing about something to cheer about "this dismal year" that includes the following observations:  
Hong Kong is a profoundly different city than the one we remember from two years ago — a city whose leaders have grown cold to the hopes and dreams of their own people in order to satisfy the authoritarian demands issuing, in ever-increasing number, from the north. A city which no longer aspires to the quest for democracy, sound governance and human rights. In too many respects, a lost city...
Yet it cannot be denied that, despite all the alarming setbacks, there remains a spirit and verve about this place — perhaps much dampened and downtrodden but still very much alive — that the Chinese leadership and their local lackeys have been unable to squash and, let’s hope, never will...
At this point, in the wake of the promulgation of the national security law, Hongkongers may not feel safe standing up to a government that has abdicated its responsibility to represent their interests and aspirations to the Chinese leadership. But they have also refused to lie down. 

In such dreary New Year’s circumstances, that’s something to celebrate.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

And then there were just two left -- public memorials of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Hong Kong, that is

No longer located at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Indeed, probably the only reason why it still hasn't been removed as yet is their being able to plead that both yesterday (Christmas Day) and today (Boxing Day) are public holidays in Hong Kong (unlike in, say, Mainland China).  So we can expect to see its removal by Tuesday, if not tomorrow -- which is a public holiday on account of this Boxing Day falling on a Sunday.
In the grand scheme of things, their acts may seem small.  But trust me when I say that they have been seen and matter for many people.  Speaking of small, some might think too that the removal of a statue or two may not seem like much.  But, again, trust me when I state that it means a great deal to many people.  Actually, don't just take my word for it and, instead, consider the following points Tweeted this past Christmas Eve by Niao Collective:    
And that, indeed, is the question, and rub. :(

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Shame on the University of Hong Kong for its disrespect for the Pillar of Shame!

No longer to be found at the University of Hong Kong
After blogging about a Hong Kong movie I had enjoyed viewing last night (i.e., Amos Why's Far Far Away), I went over to Twitter to catch up on the news.  In retrospect, I wish I hadn't -- for I found AFP's Xinqi Su Tweeting about something that we knew was but a matter of time but still hurt when it finally did happen: the removal of the Pillar of Shame from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) campus; and not in one piece to boot.    

Earlier this week, outgoing HKU council chairman, Arthur Li, had brought up the subject of this eight meter tall memorial to the victims of the Tiananmen Square Massacre created by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt in 1996 that was installed at the HKU campus on June 5th, 1997, after being silent about it for a couple of months.  In particular, he wondered who it actually belonged to -- something which was rather suspect since Galschiøt has been stating for months now that he is the statue's rightful owner.
In retrospect, Arthur Li's utterances can be seen as an assertion that, with the ownership of the Statue of Shame not being clear, the university felt able to do with it what as they willed: and, as was stated back on October 8th, what the university's authorities were seeking was the removal, if not outright destruction, of the memorial from its campus
As for the timing: The suspicion is that it matters less that it came days after a former leader of the now-defunct Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, Leung Kam-wai, was sentenced to three months in prison and more that it's just a few days after the Legislative Council "elections" on Sunday didn't go the way that the Hong Kong government (and, no doubt, Beijing's too) had hoped.  For while the Legislative Council is now a rubber stamp body (thanks to no members of the opposition electing to take part in it), the voting percentage for the "election" was Hong Kong's lowest ever -- with only 30 percent of eligible Hong Kongers deciding to take part in the polls

As a member of the Twitterati (who goes by Hintman) Tweeted: "Hong Kong government is sad about lowest ever election turn out and a couple days later the #PillarOfShame gets covered up and something is going down... Destroying art now to wipe out the past and be vindictive?  Wouldn't put it past Beijing and Carrie Lam."
The fact that HKU's shameful action was undertaken under the cover of night and white tarpaulin sheets for the most part points to there being a degree of guilt on the part of its perpetuators.  At the very least, they knew that it would make for terrible optics for, as history professor Jeppe Mulich Tweeted, "an institution of higher learning [to be] destroying a monument commemorating the massacre of students".
What they were unable to account for was intrepid journalists (like Xinqi Su) and others who were determined to bear witness to the shameless act being undertaken.  And they couldn't hide the sounds of destruction being wreaked that come across very clearly in such as the video clips shared by Razven on Twitter ((see (and hear) examples here and here).  The result: a lot of people feeling sickened by what they heard alone as well as knew was going on even if they couldn't actually see what was being enacted.
One day on, we now have fuller reports of what happened last night and also some remarkable visual images.  And trust me when I say that the sense of sadness and revulsion regarding what has happened to the Pillar of Shame has remained.  As its creator, Jens Galschiøt told the BBC: "This is a sculpture about dead people and [to] remember the dead people in Beijing in '89.  So when you destroy that in this way then it's like going to a graveyard and destroying all the gravestones".  
Then there's the matter of what this means with regards to Hong Kong.  The way U.S.-based activist Samuel Chu sees it: "Its creation in 1997 was a touchstone for freedom in Hong Kong; its destruction in 2021 would be a tombstone for freedom in Hong Kong."     

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Far Far Away is a film for those who really f**king love Hong Kong (Film review)

The two leads and director of Far Far Away at one of its 
Hong Kong Asian Film Festival post-screening Q&As
Far Far Away (Hong Kong, 2021)
- Amos Why, director and scriptwriter
- Starring: Kaki Sham, Jennifer Yu, Hanna Chan, Rachel Leung, Cecilia So, Crystal Cheung
Back in 2014, Amos Why (the nom de guerre of Amos Wong Ho-yin) directed -- and produced and wrote the script for -- my favorite Hong Kong film of that year: Dot 2 Dot; a romantic drama that also was very much a love letter to Hong Kong.  Four years later, I went to see his sophomore directorial effort, a crime mystery with political undertones, with high expectations but found Napping Kid to be disappointingly sophomoric as well as overly ambitious.  
So when I saw that he had come up with a third directorial attempt (and that it was playing at this year's Hong Kong Asian Film Festival), I hesitated a bit before deciding to go and check it out.  But now that I've done so, I can tell you that I'm so very glad I did -- because Far Far Away really is a lovely film that speaks to those of us who f**king love Hong Kong.  (Also, it's actually not scheduled to officially begin its theatrical run in local cinemas until February 14th, 2022 -- though there are sneak previews of the film scheduled from time to time already!)

Actually, if I had thought about it, I should have realized that Far Far Away would be a really good Amos Why film because it plays to the director-scriptwriter's strengths.  For one thing, it's a straightforward romantic drama rather than convoluted genre movie.  For another, it makes use of, and highlights, Amos Why's considerable knowledge of interesting Hong Kong locales.  For a third, it features characters who are simultaneously idiosyncratic in some ways but also very "normal" -- average even? -- and relatable in others, with the icing on that particular cake being the casting of a number of the most talented of Hong Kong's crop of actors and actresses (who may not be household names but often have more acting chops than many of the older generation) to portray them.  

Charismatic character actor Kaki Sham gets to be the lead actor for the first time in a feature film and makes the most of his opportunity.  In Far Far Away, he plays an IT geek who's initially not that experienced with women but ends up getting romantically involved over a fairly short space of time, and to varying extents, with five different women -- it should be stated, not all at the same time!  
Something that all the women have in common though is that they all live in far flung parts of Hong Kong!  More specifically: there's the colleague who lives in Shau Tau Kok (played by Cecilia So); the old university mate who lives with her parents over at Sea Ranch (portrayed by Jennifer Yu); the woman with a car of the same make and color as his who lives in Tai O (essayed by Rachel Leung); the Yuen Long resident who's one year older than him and desperate to find a husband (played by Crystal Cheung); and the woman who he and his secondary classmates had idolized, and now lives in the rural Hakka enclave of Mui Tsz Lam (essayed by Hanna Chan).      
Local culture geeks will thoroughly enjoy that Far Far Away features a number of visually pleasing Hong Kong locales on a big screen that seldom showcased in Hong Kong films (or, for that matter, foreign films shot in Hong Kong), and I wouldn't be surprised if (even) those who don't know Hong Kong well will be charmed by them too.  At the same time, the characters who inhabit these landscapes also need to be appealing and contribute to the story -- and the ones in this movie definitely do.  And, actually, more than one of the women featured in the film are attractive (in terms of their personality as well as physically), making it so that it might come as a surprise which of them actually ends up winning the heart of Far Far Away's lead male character!       
Something else that local culture geeks will appreciate about Far Far Away is that its dialogue is peppered with topical remarks and others that give a good sense of how, and how much, its makers really love Hong Kong.  One last thing: keep an eye out for fun cameos!  In summary: there's much to enjoy about this very Hong Kong movie visually but also far beyond.         

My rating for this film: 8.0

Monday, December 20, 2021

Records broken over the weekend by Hong Kong's Siobhan Haughey, and Hong Kong's registered voters! :D

Just a few meters away from a polling station -- but one 
couldn't tell from this photo taken yesterday (unlike with photos
taken on November 24th, 2019 from around the same spot)!
Starting with where we left off on Friday: with Hong Kong swimmer Siobhan Haughey, who won a second gold medal at the World Swimming Championships over the weekend -- this time in the 100 meters freestyle race which also saw her break the meet record in this category!  Adding to her achievements was her adding a bronze medal -- this time from the women's 400 metres free style -- to her haul yesterday.

Since Hong Kong does not allow voting from outside Hong Kong (except if you are one of the estimated 110,000 registered voters among the Hong Kong residents living in Mainland China who could get to the one of the three polling stations set up at the border yesterday), one can safely assume that Haughey did not vote at yesterday's Legislative Council "election" (the first to have taken place since China imposed its security law on Hong Kong and implemented sweeping changes to Hong Kong's electoral system).  This puts her among the majority of Hong Kongers who didn't do so -- since only 30 percent of Hong Kong's registered voters elected to do so yesterday (in great contrast to the more than 71 percent who did so for the November 24th, 2019, district council elections)!
Adding to the records broken yesterday: that for the highest number and percentage of spoilt votes.  More specifically, 2.04 percent of the 1,350,680 votes cast yesterday were declared invalid.  This includes those that were accidentally improperly filled out but the sense one gets is that the likelihood was higher than the ballot papers were either deliberately spoilt or left blank (as per the urging of the likes of former legislative councillor Ted Hui).

Put another way: I think one can safely surmize that, to cite a Tweet by @Baakfanmouyan, "Hong Kongers resoundingly demonstrate[d] their contempt for the CCP-puppet government's sham elections with a historically low poll turnout".  Ahead of this weekend, a friend told me she hoped to see voter turnout percentages that were in the 30s.  In turn, and in part because I didn't want to be disappointed, I told her that even a 50 percent turnout would be enough to show that pro-Beijingers were/are not the majority in Hong Kong and show that a healthy number of Hong Kongers refused to have wool pulled over their eyes and believe that this "patriots only election" signified electoral "improvement" (rather than regression).
More than by the way, one other notable Hong Konger (besides Siobhan Haughey) who we know didn't vote yesterday: the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's first Chief Executive, Tung Chee-hwa!  And for the record: unlike Siobhan Haughey, he was in Hong Kong yesterday.  So it's not like he's got that excuse for not doing so!  At the same time, his spokesman was quoted as stating the following: "as always, Mr. Tung hoped that people will vote enthusiastically in the Legislative Council election, and Hong Kong will continue to be prosperous and stable"; and, in so doing, provided yet one more great example of Hong Kong's "leaders" tending towards the philosophy of "do as I say, not as I do"!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Swimmer Siobhan Haughey breaks a world record while this Sunday's Legislative Council "election" looks to break records too!

The closest I've been to a swimming pool in years --
and yeah, it's not even a real one! :D
There are still some days to go until the Legislative Council "election" -- which was originally scheduled to take place back in September 2020, but ended up being postponed for more than a year; during which pretty much the entire pool of what would have been the pro-democracy opposition got arrested and put behind bars -- but so much has already been written about it that, if truth be told, I've become rather bored by the subject.  Still, here's going ahead and bringing to attention three recent Twitter threads of interest with regards to it. 

The first, by Galileo Cheng, shows the desperation of the powers that be to encourage people to go and vote -- by resorting to using characters and images that are usually associated with supporters of the "yellow" (pro-democracy) cause who are very likely to have voted for the last time in a poll back in July 2020 or even November 2019.  Consequently, Pepe the frog, LIHKG pig and even wild boars on banners urging people to go out and vote this Sunday!

The second sees Galileo's journalist brother, Kris, trying to estimate what the turnout for Sunday's selection will be.  Already, as he noted: "We all know it is going to be low. Even Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam once said low turnout means “good governance”. But just how low can it be?"  Further in the thread, he reported that the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute's latest survey shows that just "48% respondents said they definitely/probably will vote".  But he's prepared to go even lower and suggest that it's entirely possible that just 27% of Hong Kong's 4.7 million voters will end up turning out to cast their vote on Sunday (while noting earlier in the thread that voter turnout for the November 2019 District Council election was 71.2%)!
The third Twitter thread, this one by @K_krazy_xoxo succinctly explains why many people are reckoning it's not worth their while to take part in this particular poll by pointing out what the Hong Kong government has been doing with regards to it: i.e., "1. Rig the election so that no actual pro-dem members can even join[;] 2. Make telling others not to vote in a rigged election illegal[;] 3. Hijack our protest memes to confuse people into voting[;] 4. If and when turnout rate is still low (because while HKers are dumb they are not *that* dumb) they say "didn't HKers like democracy I'm giving you a chance to vote and you didn't so clearly you don't like it as much as you claim and you are a hypocrite"; [and] 5. Confuse the bystanders outside HK that they are still upholding "democracy" and let them think we are the hypocrites for not voting in their skewed mess."   
I don't know the reactions of the folks who heard her say this over in Abu Dhabi (where the World Swimming Championships are taking place) but believe you me when I say that it's caused quite a stir among Hong Kongers.  Interestingly though, it doesn't seem to have caught the attention of the "little pinks" as yet though -- the way that a remark by celebrity couple Julian Cheung and Anita Yuen's teenage son about his not being in China while clearly being in Hong Kong did just a few days ago though!  At least not yet...!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

More arrests, threats and idiocy in the lead up to this Sunday's Legislative Council "election"

That Edward Leung Hei shows his idiocy once more!
Seemingly thinking these arrests are insufficient for sending a message that people should go cast their votes, security chief Chris Tang decided to up the ante by warning that "Urging people to boycott this weekend's Legislative Council elections or to cast blank ballots could breach the national security law".  Honestly, at this point in time, I'm beginning to wonder what the national security law doesn't cover anymore.  
And yes, I can't help but think again re how spot on and prescient Kevin Yam was back in June 21st, 2020, in Tweeting the following: "Don’t analyse the #HongKong National Security Law. There’s nothing to analyse. It’s just whatever they say it is. And if they cannot make it whatever they say it is when they want something, they will just change it in whatever way they like. End of story.
At the same time though, certain candidates appear to be doing their best to dissuade people from voting -- at least for them, if not outright boycotting the "election" -- by showing how idiotic they are.  Remember Edward Leung Hei of Sai Wan Ho MTR station infamy?  In the election booklet that's been sent to registered voters, he's now simultaneously claimed to be 39 years old, yet already served the section of Hong Kong that is his hoped-to-be constituency for 26 years!  
As evidence, see the image at the top of this blog post.  Granted that, as Jack Hon Tweeted, "it's clear that they mean the party has been servicing HK East for 29years but it's still funny and extremely badly designed and worded. It's a result of not having to give a shit about the campaign since they know they will win anyway since there are no real opposition".  (And therein lies the rub, because the fact of the matter is that Edward Leung Hei's party, the so-called Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) is by far the richest political party in Hong Kong, with lots of money to spend to -- if not outright buy votes, then to buy such as the publicity that will help get votes.)   
Furthermore, I can see certain announcements made by the authorities (further) putting off a number of Hong Kongers from wanting to go to the polling stations on Sunday.  An example: given the low esteem that many Hong Kongers now have for the police (as a result of their conduct in 2019 and beyond), it'd kerb many Hong Kongers' enthusiasm for going to the polls to know that over 10,000 officers will be deployed on the day "to ensure the polls will be held smoothly and safely".    
Reckon all this makes for a new and improved elections?  If so, I figure you'd be in the minority of Hong Kongers rather than the majority!  (Also, yes, I really wouldn't be surprised at all if this year's Legislative Council "election" breaks records -- for having the lowest percentage of registered voter participation in HKSAR history as the polls are showing that it's very much on course to be so!) 

Monday, December 13, 2021

More unjust legal decisions handed down and mitigation statements that point out how they are so

It is looking like we'll never see this sight in Victoria Park ever again :(
The eight defendants who were the final batch who appeared in court for this case involving more than 20 accused pro-democracy politicians and/or activists were handed jail sentences ranging in length from four months and two weeks to 14 months by judge Woodcock.  Interestingly, both the lengthiest (to Lee Cheuk-yan) along with shortest (to Wu Chi-wai) sentences went to individuals who had pleaded guilty; while the three people who had opted to contest the charges against them were handed varying sentences of 13 months (Jimmy Lai), 12 months (Chow Hang-tung) and 6 months (Gwyneth Ho).
Chow Hang-tung's mitigation submission (like with Margaret Ng's for a previous case) is one of those "must reads".  The following are a selection of passages from it: 
What has been put on trial here is perhaps the last candlelight vigil in Victoria Park for a long time to come, and definitely the last time that the Hong Kong Alliance could appear in Victoria Park on June 4th now that the Hong Kong Alliance was “killed” by the Government. It is a trial of this 31 years of tradition, this decades-long symbol of resistance that has been forcibly put to an end, first through the present prosecution, then continued through ever-escalating measures by the authorities.

Let us not delude ourselves that this is all about COVID-19 and that the criminalization of the vigil is only an exceptional measure at an exceptional time. What happened here is instead one step in the systemic erasure of history, both of the Tiananmen Massacre and Hong Kong’s own history of civic resistance.

The fact that this case relies heavily on publicly collected evidence that are no longer publicly available, either because the media publishing them had shut down, or the organisation hosting them had been banned, is saying something about the kind of repression and fear that has swept over Hong Kong in a mere one and a half year time. The shrinking, no, the collapse of the space for free expression, association and political action, is a prevalent experience that is every bit as common and as painful, if not more painful, than the COVID-19 situation in this city.

Yet while the Court sees fit to take judicial notice of the situation of a health crisis, it acts as if the parallel political crisis does not exist. It declines to hear any evidence of what “us” as an organisation, as a people, are experiencing in this pandemic of political repression. It refuses to see the wider context under which this case happened, in the name of focusing only on relevant and admissible evidence.
A collective act of some 20,000 people has been branded as “criminal,” yet their [experience] is irrelevant. History is irrelevant. Politics is irrelevant. Views of the purported decision makers matter but not of those commoners who were affected but excluded from the decision-making process. The reality of political repression never stands a chance in court since no evidence of the kind would ever be admissible.

In closing its eyes to the obvious the Court risks making itself irrelevant to the ailments of our times. In purporting to maintain political neutrality the Court is in effect affirming the unequal power wielded by the Government in instituting political charges against its opponents, emboldening the authorities to take over more restrictive action that squeeze out the rights of the citizens.

Throughout the trial the greatest injustice in this case remains hidden and unmentionable, for who are truly responsible for inciting hundreds of thousands of people to gather in Victoria Park on June 4th, years after years? They are the murderers who killed at will in Beijing 32 years ago, with tanks and dumdum guns. Yet the killers were never punished by any court of law, while those who demand truth and accountability were relentlessly criminalised. This has continued non-stop for 32 years in mainland China, and is now also happening in Hong Kong.
Something to note when reading Chow Hang-tung's words: she wrote this mitigation statement while already behind bars and thus without access to a computer, many other research tools and reference materials. Truly, it is a travesty to think that this thoroughly admirable woman of high intelligence, courage and integrity has to spend ANY time in jail at all.  

Amazingly, it seems like Chow Hang-tung's sense of humor has remained intact despite her travails.  For she later opined that: "Actually, I spout too much extraneous rubbish. My whole mitigation can be simply summed up as: Dammit, I won't beg the executioner for mercy! Must change habit of long-windedness"!
Meanwhile co-defendant -- and another heroic woman of high intelligence, courage and intregity -- Gwyneth Ho really did opt for a mitigation statement that was brief and to the point: "You can pile up all the legal language you want; it doesn’t matter: My sentence today is the sentence for every single HongKonger who appeared in Victoria Park on June 4, 2020."  Of which there were a good number, and would have been greater if not for many people (including myself) heeding the calls of the likes of Lee Cheuk-yan to light candles in every part of Hong Kong that evening (rather than only Victoria Park, as previously would have been the case).