Date
19 August 2019
Reverend Chu Yiu-ming (second right) breaks into tears while lawmaker Tanya Chan (in yellow blouse) and other pro-democracy activists look on outside the courthouse after the sentencing of the Occupy leaders on Wednesday. Photo: HKEJ
Reverend Chu Yiu-ming (second right) breaks into tears while lawmaker Tanya Chan (in yellow blouse) and other pro-democracy activists look on outside the courthouse after the sentencing of the Occupy leaders on Wednesday. Photo: HKEJ

A day of emotions as Occupy leaders are sentenced

One of the most emotional scenes outside the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Wednesday, after the sentencing of the nine Occupy leaders convicted for their roles in the 2014 pro-democracy protests, was that of Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, who broke into tears as he waved goodbye to his colleagues with his yellow handkerchief, calling out their names as they boarded the security vehicle on their way to serve their prison terms.

Chu, whose 16 months’ jail term was suspended for two years, has a liking for a yellow handkerchief.

During the trial, his barrister had repeatedly advised him against displaying it inside the courtroom.

The color yellow is widely seen as a symbol of the Occupy movement, and the barrister’s concern was that the judge might view it as an attempt to send a political message, which could spur unnecessary reaction.

As such, it wasn’t until his fellow Occupy founders, law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting and retired sociologist Chan Kin-man, along with two other convicted activists, were being transported to the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre that Chu finally took out his yellow handkerchief again.

Another focus of public attention on that day was Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan Suk-chong, whose sentencing was postponed to June 10 on the grounds that she needed to undergo an urgent surgery within two weeks.

According to Tanya Chan, she had a medical checkup in early April. And after further checks, she was told last Thursday she had a 4.2-centimeter tumor in her left brain.

Lawmaker Steven Ho Chun-yin of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), representing the agriculture and fisheries sector in the functional constituency, later remarked on social media: “Everyone’s terminally ill when it’s time to pay the bill.”

Ho came under heavy fire from netizens for his cruel comment. He later tried to “defuse” their anger by explaining that he was just giving his first impression and not picking on Tanya Chan. He said he would apologize to anyone who found his comment offensive, adding that he wasn’t very good at expressing himself.

In contrast, his DAB partymate Ann Chiang Lai-wan displayed a more fitting temperament by wishing Tanya Chan through social media the best of luck on her surgery and speedy recovery.

Tanya Chan was expected to send Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen a leave application and prepare to go under the knife in the next one to two weeks.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 25

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]

JC/CG

Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.

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