A student has been sentenced to two months in jail by a Hong Kong court for posting pro-independence content on social media while studying in Japan. This marks the first conviction under the colonial-era sedition law for online speech made outside Hong Kong. Legal experts and international activists view this as an intensification of the restrictive impact on individuals engaging in Hong Kong affairs from abroad.
The 23-year-old student, Mika Yuen, admitted to the sedition charges related to 13 social media posts advocating Hong Kong independence. Most of these posts were made while she was in Japan. She faced arrest upon returning to Hong Kong to renew her ID.
The defense questioned the court’s jurisdiction over content posted outside Hong Kong but dropped the argument as the posts remained online. Her lawyer argued that Yuen had a limited social media following and has broadened her perspectives, reducing the likelihood of re-offending.
Sedition carries up to a two-year jail term. Observers in Japan express concern over the case’s implications for freedoms, highlighting the gradual erosion of previously unquestioned liberties. The case also underscores the growing global reach of restrictions on freedom of speech related to Hong Kong, affecting the Hong Kong diaspora’s willingness to return due to potential political prosecution risks.