Australian human rights activist Drew Pavlou is facing a court hearing over his protest against Chinese leader Xi Jinping last year.
Pavlou, a vocal critic of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), was arrested by New South Wales (NSW) police at an anti-CCP rally in Eastwood, a Chinese community in northwest Sydney, in May 2022 and was detained for five hours in a cell.
Holding a sign that read “F**k Xi Jinping” in Mandarin at a busy shopping street in Eastwood, which boasts the state’s highest Chinese population, the former senate candidate sparked a strong reaction from Chinese nationals who cursed him as “motherf**ker” and “son of a b**ch.”
“F** you, motherf***er,’ one yelled at him repeatedly. ‘It’s free speech!’
“America has genocide, not Xi Jinping.”
“We are against the dictatorship. We believe in democracy. Free Hong Kong. Free Taiwan,” Pavlou, who was supporting Kyinzom Dhongdue, the Tibetan candidate of Drew Pavlou Democratic Alliance running for the Bennelong seat in the 2022 federal election, told the crowd.
He was bailed on the condition that he does not visit Eastwood or Epping.
Pavlou: ‘Keep Standing up For Free Speech’Pavlou said he would not back down from his activism against the CCP despite the challenges he had been facing.
“Now I’m facing court in March for insulting Xi Jinping with a sign in Sydney. The maximum penalty for the charge I am defending is three months in prison. The NSW Police apparently want to argue that holding a sign reading ''F*** Xi Jinping'' is a hate crime.”
The young activist said with his activism, he is trying to stand up for free speech and resist attempts by the CCP to censor people in Australia, his own country.
“I am trying to speak up for victims of the CCP who have no voice to speak-Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese, and Chinese dissidents. So many of my friends in these communities cannot speak publicly because the CCP threatens their families back home,” he wrote.
Chinese Activist: Doing the Same to Morrison Won’t Get One ChargedDr. Zhang Xiaogang, a Sydney-based Chinese democracy activist, said that in Australia’s legal system, if chanting “F** you Scott Morrison” will not cause one to be charged, then doing the same thing to Xi Jinping should not get one charged either.
“It’s equal. When Scott Morrison was the Prime Minister, there were people parading and chanting ‘F** you Scott Morrison’… [What Pavlou did] was nothing more offensive,” Zhang told The Epoch Times on Feb. 28 in an interview conducted in Mandarin. “Thousands of people chanting ‘F** you Scott Morrison’ in CBD. No police went there to manage and neither did the organizer get sued.
“It’s purely a political expression. It is not an insult to Morrison individually but a discontent to his government. It may be used on the Labor government now or someone else. It’s all normal and Australians are used to it.”
Zhang, who once sprayed graffiti on the front gate of the CCP's Consulate-General in Sydney and was prosecuted by the police, stressed that Pavlou’s sign is purely a political protest to the CCP’s persecution of human rights in China, and the protest is prevalent online.
“All my family members and loved ones urged me to stop when the CCP had me arrested in London on false charges,” he wrote in the email.
“I’ve been going for four years now and I’ve had a lot of dark moments in that time. Moments where I thought there was no future left in what I was doing. Moments where I felt like my efforts were going to waste, where I felt like I was simply destroying my life.
“But if there’s one thing you must know about me by now, I am a fighter. I will get back up every single time no matter what punches they throw my way.”
A spokesperson of NSW police told The Epoch Times that with matters before the court, the police were not able to comment further.