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‘Captain America’ Protester Gets Nearly Six Years in Prison for Hong Kong Mall Chants

Ma Chun, a 30-year-old former food deliveryman has been sentenced to five years in jail after protesting carrying a Captain America shield. China maintains that Mr. Ma was guilty of promoting independence, a sentence that carries tough penalties for public dissent. Mr. Ma was charged under the national security law imposed on Hong Kong by China. Mr. Ma is the second person to be sentenced under the national security law, which went into effect in June 2020. He is also the first individual to be sentenced under the law for nonviolent acts after being found guilty of inciting secession.

Mr. Ma participated in pro-democracy protests last year after Covid-19 prompted shutdowns and the end of demonstrations. Mr. Ma would often go to shopping malls alone, chanting slogans and imploring others to join him in his efforts. Mr. Ma’s sentence underlines the harsh penalties that one can receive for speaking out against the Chinese government or expressing opinions that are forbidden under the new security law. Mr. Ma was allegedly arrested multiple times between August and November of last year, some of which for yelling popular liberation slogans such as “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.” The slogan has since been ruled illegal under the security law after it became popular in 2019. Mr. Ma stated at his trial that he was merely practicing free speech guaranteed under the security law and constitution, maintaining that he did not intend to inside secession.

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