You Want Courage? I’ll Give You Courage! Chow Hang-tung’s Mitigation Submission | 11 March 2023


● 閣下 gok3 haah6 = Your/His/Her Honour/Grace/Eminence, etc. | ● 代理人 doih6 léih5 yàhn4 = an agent | ● 折騰 jit3 tàhng4 = torment | ● 判刑 pun3 yìhng4 = to sentence | ● 懲罰 chìhng4 faht6 = to punish | ● 捍衛 hóhn5 waih6 = to safeguard; to protect

Your Worship, we know as a matter of fact that we are no foreign agent, and nothing has emerged in this year long ordeal that proves otherwise. To sentence us in such circumstances is about punishing people for defending the truth.


● 虛假 hēui1 gáa2 = false; untrue | ● 公民社會 gūng1 màhn4 séh5 wúi6*2 = civil society | ● 邪惡 chèh4 ok3 = evil | ● 外國勢力 ngoih6 gwok3 sai3 lihk6 = a foreign force or influence | ● 移植 yìh4 jihk6 = to transplant | ● 噤聲 gam3 sīng1 = to keep silent

The truth is that national security is being used as a hollow pretext to wage an all out war on civil society. The truth is that our movement for human rights and democracy is home grown and not some sinister foreign implant. The truth is that people here have a voice of their own that will not be silenced.


● 當權者 dōng1 kyùhn4 jé2 = those in power | ● 代價 doih6 gaa3 = price (as in “to pay the price”) | ● 守護 sáu2 wuh6 = to guard | ● 天安門大屠殺 tīn1 ōn1 mùhn4 daaih6 tòuh4 saat3 = the Tian’anmen Massacre (4 June 1989) | ● 囚禁 chauh4 gam3 = to imprison | ● 騷擾 sōu1 yíu2 = to harass | ● 羞辱 sāu1 yuhk6 = ① humiliation ② to humiliate

The Alliance is no stranger to the cost of speaking truth to power. We should know as we have been guarding the truth of the Tiananmen Massacre for over 30 years and have campaigned for many of those jailed and harassed and humiliated for telling that truth. We have long been prepared to pay the price.


● 貶低 bín2 dāi1 = to devalue | ● 屈膝 wāt1 sāt1 = to bend one’s knees; to go down on one’s knees | ● 出賣 chēut1 maaih6 = to sell out; to betray | ● 背棄 bui3 hei3 = to turn one’s back on; to abandon

With the notices and the degrading designation as foreign agent, the government was effectively saying to us, bend your knees, betray your friends, betray your cause, accept the state’s absolute authority to know all and decide all, and you shall have peace.


● 不公義 bāt1 gūng1 yih6 = unjust | ● 放棄 fong3 hei3 = to abandon | ● 自主 jih6 jyú2 = be one’s own master | ● 認同 yihng6 tùhng4 = to approve | ● 論述 leuhn6 seuht6 = to expound | ● 潛在 chìhm4 joih6 = potential | ● 罪犯 jeuih6 faahn6 = an offender; a criminal

What we are saying with our action is simply one word: NEVER. An unjust peace is no peace at all. Never will we surrender our independence from the state. Never will we help delegitimise our own movement by endorsing the government’s false narrative. Never will we treat ourselves and our friends as potential criminals just because the government says we are.


● 對抗 deui3 kong3 = to oppose | ● 尊嚴 jyūn1 yìhm4 = dignity | ● 侮辱 móuh5 yuhk6 = to insult; to affront| ● 保密 bóu2 maht6 = to keep secret | ● 瘋狂 fūng1 kòhng4 = 1. crazy 2. frenzied | ● 打仗 dáa2 jeung3 = to go to war | ● 危在旦夕 ngàih4 joih6 daan3 jihk6 = be in imminent danger; be in peril

Instead we will continue doing what we have always done, that is to fight falsehood with truth, indignity with dignity, secrecy with openness, madness with reason, division with solidarity. We will fight these injustices wherever we must, be it on the streets, in the courtroom, or from a prison cell. This battle including what we have done in this case, is a battle we have to fight, here in this city we call home. For our freedom to be ourselves is at stake. For the future of our city – and even of the wider world — is at stake.


● 聆訊 lìhng4 seun3 = an investigation; a hearing (for a trial) | ● 盛大聚會 sihng6 daaih6 jeuih6 wúi6*2= a grand get-together | ● 願望 yuhn6 mohng6 = a desire | ● 擁護 yúng2 wuh6 = to support; to uphold | ● 拒之門外 kéuih5 jī1 mùhn4 ngoih6 = refuse sb. entry | ● 威脅 wāi1 hip3 = to threaten

Your worship, today’s hearing comes at an ironic time. While false people’s representatives are having their grand gatherings in Beijing, busy endorsing one man’s wishes as that of the nation’s, genuine voices of the people are being denied that recognition in this courtroom. When the nation’s interests [are] defined by one party, or indeed, one person, so called “national security” would inevitably become a threat to the people’s right and security, nationally and even globally, as demonstrated by Tian’anmen, by Xinjiang, by Ukraine, and indeed Hong Kong.

與不知名外國組織的虛構代理人相比,明顯地,確實存在但無須問責的政權,才是更加危險的猛獸。政府經常強調一國兩制的重要性,但不代表作為這個國家的公民,我們就 [沒?] 有責任控制這頭威脅世界的猛獸。這正是我們為何做了我們所做的事,亦是為何我們永遠不能放棄。

● 虛構 hēui1 kau3 = to make up; to fabricate | ● 問責 mahn6 jaak3 = to call to account | ● 猛獸 máahng5 sau3 = a predator; a fierce beast

Compared with those imagined agent of unidentifiable foreign entities, surely the concrete but unaccountable state power is the more dangerous beast. The government always emphasises the priority of one country two system, but that doesn’t mean as citizens of this country, we [do not?] bear the primary responsibility to rein in this beast that threatens the world. Which is why we did what we did, and why we can never give up.


● 服從 fuhk6 chùhng4 = to obey; to submit | ● 宣判 syūn1 pun3 = to pronounce a judgment | ● 行使 hàhng4 sái2 = to exercise | ● 建基於 gin3 gēi1 yū1 = lit. “to build [its] foundations on”

Sir, sentence us for our insubordination if you must, but when the exercise of power is based on lies, being insubordinate is the only way to be human. This is my submission.

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