Pro-democracy lawmaker Tanya Chan, who was convicted over her involvement in the 2014 Umbrella Movement, has revealed that she is suffering from a “life-threatening” brain tumour.

On Wednesday morning, Chan was among the nine pro-democracy activists set to be sentenced over convictions relating to public nuisance. But district court judge Johnny Chan postponed her sentencing until June 10 so that she could undergo an operation.

Occupy nine sentencing
Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

The information was first revealed in court by her lawyer David Ma, who submitted an MRI scan and a radiologist’s report to the judge.

After the other activists received their sentences at around 11:30am, Chan issued a statement on Facebook detailing her condition.

She said that a 4.2-centimetre tumour had been found in her left brain, which was “slightly larger than a ping pong ball.”

Chan said she went for a body check on April 4 – before she was convicted – and was told about the tumour last Wednesday: “The biggest danger is that the tumour is putting pressure on the brain stem, and pressing on some blood vessels and nerve fibres. The doctor diagnosed it as meningioma,” Chan wrote.

Tanya chan brain tumour
Tanya Chan’s MRI scan showing the brain tumour. Photo: Tanya Chan via Facebook.

It was, as yet, unclear whether the tumour was benign or malignant, she added, but she said she had felt symptoms such as dizziness and facial paralysis.

Chan accepted her doctor’s advice to undergo urgent surgery to remove the tumour, followed by radiation therapy.

“Any operation has its risks. I am afraid, but I will definitely recover as soon as possible. God has given me two major challenges at once, and I will face them bravely, please don’t worry,” Chan wrote.

“Mom, have faith in your daughter; I can take care of this.”

In the meantime, Chan has asked to take medical leave from the Legislative Council and would reduce public appearances.

Political opponents react

Lawmaker Steven Ho from the pro-Beijing DAB party made a sarcastic comment on Facebook, saying: “When it’s time to pay the bill, everyone says they’re suffering from some terminal illness. You win…”

Stanley Ng, the president of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, also made a Facebook post questioning why Chan’s sentencing was postponed.

“The illness has nothing to do with the judgment, are the criminals playing procedural tricks with the judge again?” he wrote. “If there are humanitarian considerations, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to deal with them after the [sentencing]?”

Occupy nine sentencing
Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Chan’s lawyer David Ma told reporters he would not comment on Chan’s condition. As for whether Chan would apply for a suspended sentence, Ma said he would not make any predictions.

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Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.