Hong Kong Judge Needs To Have Orwell’s 1984 Explained To Him In Sedition Trial

Second time this week that  Judge Kwok Wai-kin gets a mention..

HKFP  writes

In a Stand News op-ed, veteran journalist Allan Au rewrote a slogan from George Orwell’s famous novel to apply it to Hong Kong. The judge, however, said he had not read the book, and asked if Stand News’ former editor-in-chief could give him a brief introduction.
A former editor of defunct Hong Kong independent news outlet Stand News on trial for sedition has been questioned over an op-ed that compared Hong Kong to the fictional totalitarian regime in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Meanwhile, the judge presiding over the trial asked whether Nineteen Eighty-Four was a book, and what it was about.

Chung Pui-kuen appeared before Judge Kwok Wai-kin at District Court on Friday, as the sedition trial, which began last October and was supposed to last 20 days, continued. Chung, former chief editor Patrick Lam and Stand News’ parent company stand accused of publishing 17 allegedly “seditious” article between July 2020 and December 2021.

The prosecution continued their questioning of Chung on Friday, discussing a commentary written by veteran journalist Allan Au.

In the op-ed, Au altered a well-known slogan from the novel to apply it to what he saw as the context of Hong Kong. The rewrite can be loosely translated as: “A secure party is a secure country, destruction is adherence, mutual destruction is prosperity.”

Au was using “newspeak” – a fictional language in the story – to amend the lines, Au wrote.

Four of Au’s op-eds that were published by the independent online outlet form part of the alleged offence. However, the prosecutor admitted three more commentaries by Au on Thursday. This commentary mentioning the work of George Orwell was among the three exhibits recently added.

The lead prosecutor Laura Ng asked Chung Pui-kuen, Stand News’s former editor-in-chief, if the party mentioned in the modified slogan was the Chinese Communist Party.

“I think you can say that,” Chung said.

Responding to Ng’s follow-up questions, Chung told the court he thought the line “destruction is adherence” related to One Country, Two Systems. Chung said that some people may think that Hong Kong’s government had been claiming to “adhere” to that model of governance when in fact they were “destroying” it.

Regarding the quote “mutual destruction is prosperity,” Chung said he thought Au was referring to how some people and the authorities described the effect of the national security law differently, since the government praised the law for helping the international hub to restore prosperity.

Close to the end of the questioning on this op-ed, Kwok interrupted Ng and asked Chung if Nineteen Eighty-Four was a book, adding: “I have never read it, can you tell me a bit more about the book?”

After Chung’s gave a brief overview of Orwell’s novel, Ng said: “Wait, so this is a rewrite? What are the original lines?” Chung told Ng he could give her the original lines later.

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Stand News sedition trial: Ex-editor questioned over op-ed likening Hong Kong to Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’