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July 26, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Hong Kong police arrest children’s book authors in free speech crackdown

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To view the full video and transcript, click here

Summary: Hong Kong authorities arrested the authors of a children’s book this week and accused them of sedition. Sedition is any action in writing or speech which incites people to rebel against the government. The book, “Defenders of Sheep Village,” uses animals to explore the politics of a protest movement facing off against an increasingly assertive China. Hong Kong is “a special administrative region” of China and is allowed to practice a high degree of autonomy, including maintaining its own executive, legislative and judicial systems.

Five Facts: 

  • What is “Defenders of Sheep Village” about? What is it a metaphor for? 
  • Who wrote the book?
  • Why were the authors arrested for writing it?
  • When did the protests in Hong Kong start? For what reason? 
  • How are the people of Hong Kong reacting to the changes in law?

Discussion questions: 

Focus questions: The authors of the novel were arrested for sedition (see definition above). Can you think of some examples in American history in which acts of sedition were seen as good by members of the public? Can you think of some examples from history in which sedition laws were generally seen as bad? (Stuck? See Journalism in Action’s page on the Alien & Sedition Acts of 1798 and Sedition Act of 1918.)

Media literacy: Why was this story made? What did this story want you to think about? 

Dig deeper: 

  • For a simple recap of the Hong Kong protests, see this article. 
  • For more of NewsHour’s coverage of the Hong Kong protests, see these videos:

This Daily News Lesson was written by EXTRA intern Cecilia Curran and EXTRA’s Victoria Pasquantonio. Curran is a sophomore at Amherst College.

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