Jimmy Lai is a media entrepreneur – and a leading figure in the Hong Kong democracy movement. The basis for his arrest was the new security law for the Chinese Special Administrative Region.
Jimmy Lai (article picture) was accused of collusion with “foreign powers”, wrote Mark Simon, one of his closest employees in the short message service Twitter. This is a criminal offense under the controversial National Security Protection Act, which the Beijing leadership enacted in Hong Kong in late June. According to information from police circles, the well-known publisher is also accused of fraud.
Hong Kong’s “death knell” China sees Lai as the puller behind the month-long protests by the Hong Kong democracy movement last year. The 71-year-old was described as a “traitor” in the state media. He did not regret his support for the protests, said the media entrepreneur before the security law came into force, which he called a “death blow for Hong Kong”. He was “prepared for prison”. Lai’s arrest could spark new protests in China’s Special Administrative Region.
The new law severely restricts civil rights in Hong Kong and represents the heaviest Chinese interference to date with the autonomy rights of the former British crown colony. It is directed against activities that China regards as subversive, separatist or terrorist. Violations can be punished with life imprisonment.
wa / bru (afp, rtr, dpa)