Police have dropped their central charge against Drew Pavlou, a 23-year-old anti-China activist, after he held up a Chinese-language sign insulting Xi Jinping and referencing the leader’s mother.
Pavlou attended a protest against the Chinese president in Eastwood in late April 2022 and was confronted by angry members of the public.
He attended another protest a week later in the same location, and a scuffle broke out, leading to Pavlou being charged with offensive behaviour in public and refusing to comply with a police direction to move on.
Pavlou’s barrister challenged the interpretation of his client’s sign, alleging that it carried a general “curse” against Xi but not a literal message of “fornication.”
The translator agreed, stating that the curse is popular among young critics of the Chinese Communist Party and is known as the “national scolding” or “national curse.”
Police prosecutor John Marsh withdrew the charge of offensive behaviour at the end of the interpreter’s evidence.
The hearing continued with police pressing the allegation that Pavlou refused to comply with a move-on direction at the second protest.
Supporters posed for photographs with Pavlou as he held a sign reading “FU XJP” outside the court on Monday.
Among his supporters was high-profile dissident Chen Yonling, who once sparked a diplomatic incident when he left his post as consul for political affairs in the Chinese consulate in Sydney.
The hearing into Pavlou’s alleged refusal to move on will continue this week.