A Hong Kong man was sentenced to four months in prison on Friday after he pleaded guilty to importing children’s books that were deemed to be “seditious publications”.
Kurt Leung, a 38-year-old clerk, was sentenced after he admitted to importing 18 children’s books featuring wolves and sheep.
He was arrested in March after he signed for a delivery from the UK containing the books.
The books feature sheep that lived in a village and had to defend themselves against wolves.
In the series of books, the sheep take action such as going on strike or escaping by boat, which are said to allude to incidents such as the 2019 anti-government protests and the detention of the 12 Hong Kongers who attempted to escape by sea.
Authorities said that the books are an attempt at inciting hatred in young children and stirring up contempt against the government in Hong Kong and mainland China.
The sedition offence, which is a colonial-era law that carries a maximum penalty of up to two years’ imprisonment for first-time offenders, has in recent years been used by Hong Kong authorities to quash dissent in the region.
The semi-autonomous Chinese city was a British colony until it was returned to China in 1997.
Leung was accused of working with a former colleague to have the books delivered from the United Kingdom to Leung’s office in Hong Kong. He was arrested days after he signed for the package.
He has since expressed remorse about the incident in a letter to the court, where he said he realised the books would “affect the general public”.
The creators of the sheep and wolves books were five members of the general union of Hong Kong speech therapists. They were sentenced to 19 months in prison in September 2022.