Opinion | Hong Kong is not afraid of dissent

We strongly condemn the unfounded allegations in the Sept. 10 editorial “ ‘Seditious’ children’s books,” which disrespected our judicial system.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is unwaveringly committed to the rule of law and judicial independence as guaranteed by the Basic Law. All law enforcement and prosecutorial actions are strictly based on law and evidence and have nothing to do with a person’s political stance or background.

The defendants in the case were convicted after a fair trial. In the published reasons for the verdict and sentence, the court set out clearly on what factual and legal basis the defendants were convicted and sentenced.

The book contents quoted in the editorial were highly selective. As the court pointed out, the defendants were conducting “in effect a brainwashing exercise with a view to guiding the very young children to accept their views and values, i.e. PRC has no sovereignty over HKSAR which is not part of PRC,” with the children led to believe, inter alia, that “the only way to protect their home is to resist and to use force if necessary against the authorities.”

Mere criticisms will not be regarded as seditious. A proportionate and reasonable balance has been struck between safeguarding national security and protecting freedom of speech. Any accusation that the offense seeks to silence dissent is baseless.

The writer is the chief secretary for administration of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

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