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Man Mourning Queen Arrested in Hong Kong Under Colonial Sedition Law

Man Mourning Queen Arrested in Hong Kong Under Colonial Sedition Law

September 20, 2022
4 minutes
minute read

Hong Kong police used a colonial-era law to arrest a man near a memorial for Queen Elizabeth II. The law, which was intended to protect the British monarchy, has been criticized by some as outdated and unnecessary.

A man in his early forties was taken into custody on Monday night after allegedly committing an act of sedition on a road near the British consulate. In a statement released on Tuesday, police said they were investigating the man's motives.

Police have not offered any details on why the individual was arrested. However, videos posted online from Monday night show people attending the memorial singing “Glory to Hong Kong” – the unofficial anthem of protesters during the historic and sometimes violent unrest that shook the financial hub in 2019.
In recent days, Hong Kongers have been lining up for hours to sign a condolence book for the Queen at the consulate and leave flowers on the sidewalk. Some have waved British flags and posted signs reading “I love Hong Kong.”

The consulate has announced that it will be extending its opening hours due to high demand. Wait times could be more than three hours, so the consulate advises people to dress appropriately for the hot weather.

The consulate was not available for comment regarding the arrest.
The funeral of Elizabeth II drew leaders from around the world, who came together to remember the late queen with pageantry and hymns. Elizabeth II was a much-loved figurehead during her lifetime, and her death has been mourned by many. The funeral was a fitting tribute to her life and legacy.
The man was arrested under the 1938 Crimes Ordinance, which defines sedition as speech or publications that bring hate or contempt to the monarchy or the government.

Since September 2020, at least 60 people have been arrested in Hong Kong under a law that prohibits dissent. This crackdown on free speech has led to the imprisonment of many journalists, politicians, and civil society figures.
The sedition law was ignored for decades, but the city has been using it in tandem with national security legislation Beijing imposed on the city in 2020. Beijing defends the changes it has made in Hong Kong, including a revamp of the electoral system to ensure only loyalists can govern, as necessary to restore order and economic progress.

Internet users in China have been critical of expressions of sympathy for the Queen, whose state funeral was held Monday. One target of their ire was Hong Kong actress Carina Lau, who posted messages of condolences on social media platforms.
Some users accused Lau of being hypocritical, pointing to her past support for the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. Others simply said they didn't understand why she would mourn the death of a figurehead from a country that has oppressed her own.
One person asked on the Twitter-like Weibo service whether it was appropriate to be sad about the Queen's death from a Chinese perspective.
Hong Kong Cantonese opera star Law Kar-ying apologized on Weibo after he was attacked for praising the Queen. He declared himself a patriot in the post.

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Cathy Hills
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Cathy Hills
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