By Tom Bannister
A human-rights activist has said that he feels ‘honoured’ to have been sentenced to nine months in prison after he ‘desecrated’ Chinese and Hong Kong flags.
It is the third time that Koo Sze-yiu, a Hong Kong citizen who is 66, has been jailed for protesting against the mainland government. In court he labelled the Hong Kong government a stooge of the mainland, and told the magistrate that “When I am released, I will do this again.”
He was sentenced for desecrating flags on two occasions. In the summer of last year he burned the Chinese flag outside of the liaison office, the headquarters of the CCP’s presence in Hong Kong. Then, at the beginning of this year, he waived Chinese and Hong Kong flags with holes cut in them at rallies that took place in Hong Kong.
The South China Morning Post quotes the Hong Kong magistrate involved with the sentencing as saying “Every country has her national flag … and it is the symbol of the country and represents its dignity….No matter how lofty the purposes are, violation of laws will not be accepted by the public.”
The citizen journalism website Global Voices detailed netizens support of Koo. Some users posted images of their own desecration of a Chinese flag in protest at his heavy sentence, such as the two below:
inmediahk.net displayed this crab version of the flag on its facebook page. (Crabs are a symbol of censorship in China because the word for ‘river crab’, he xie 河蟹, has a similar pronunciation to the word for ‘harmony’ he xie 和谐， which is often used to justify censorship):
Picnews displayed this image, which reads ‘9 months in jail for flag desecration’: