Despite the sentencing, Rev. Garry Pang Moon-yuen declared himself victorious in terms of “safeguarding conscience, defending freedoms, human rights, and rule of law.” He believes that “history would acquit him.”
The pastor was arrested by Hong Kong’s national security police on April 6, after his attendance at a January 4 hearing where the June 4 vigil (commemorating Tiananmen Massacre) organizer Chow Hang-Tung was being sentenced for inciting others to join the banned event.
The arrest came following Beijing’s imposition of draconian national security laws in Hong Kong in 2020. A Catholic clergy from Hong Kong told ICC that since the National Security Law (NSL) came into effect in July 2020, people in HK do not even dare to share or like anything on Facebook that may offend the government these days. While Pang’s case might have been widely discussed online before the NSL, now there is little discussion about him.
Rev. Pang’s hearing took place on September 15. He represented himself in court and used the opportunity to slam the city’s legal system, calling it “a hole in a dam.” Additionally, he pointed out that the British-colonial era sedition law used to convict him went unused for over fifty years. He stated that authorities only resurrected the law to crush dissent after the 2019 pro-democracy protests.
“What’s going on in the court right now is not only a legal battle over sedition but also a battle to defend human rights and freedoms, a battle of safeguarding conscience,” Pang said in court.
ICC has previously reported on Rev. Pang’s involvement in social justice work over the last few years, especially after the anti-extradition law and pro-democracy movement took off in 2019. He could be seen praying for the revival and religious freedom of Hong Kong, doing sit-ins with parents whose children were trapped during the siege of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, or showing support to activists who are becoming the victims of Hong Kong’s National Security Law.