The police in Hong Kong on Thursday arrested five people over children’s books that indirectly describe protesters of the pro-democracy movement as sheep and security authorities as wolves.
According to local media reports, the five who were arrested are members of the General Association of Hong Kong Speech Therapists.
The association published three children’s books, and according to the synopses published on the association’s website, the books feature stories that revolve around a village of sheep that has to deal with wolves from a different village. The sheep take action like going on strike or escaping by boat.
Li Kwai-wah, a senior superintendent of the national security department, said the books have seditious intent. He said that the stories referenced the 12 Hong Kong activists who were arrested at sea while trying to flee the city in August 2020, after most of them were charged in connection with massive anti-government protests in 2019.
There was also a story about wolves who are “cruel and try to occupy the area” where the sheep live, and try to kill them, Li said. The police also froze 160,000 Hong Kong dollars (£15,000) in assets linked to the union.
He also said that publishing such books “brings hatred against the government and administration of justice, and [incites] violence to others,” while highlighting that the books targeted children between the ages of 4 and 7.
Since the imposition of the national security law which criminalises secessionism, subversion, terrorism and foreign collusion in the city’s affairs, many pro-democracy supporters have either fled abroad or have been arrested and imprisoned.
The national security law was imposed in 2020 after Hong Kong, in 2019, witnessed rallies calling for the civil rights and freedom that Beijing had promised to uphold when it was transferred power over the former British Colony in 1997.
Additional reporting by agencies