Jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai and two other pro-democracy activists were found guilty in a Hong Kong court today (Dec 9) over their roles in an banned Tiananmen vigil that was staged last year.
Jimmy Lai, founder of the hugely influential Apple Daily newspaper, was charged with inciting others to participate in the candlelight vigil in Victoria Park organised by the since-dissolved Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China to commemorate the 1989 crackdown. Several activists defied the prohibitory orders to show up at the peaceful protests.
Under the new national security laws that Beijing has enforced on Hong Kong, inciting, organising and taking part in an unauthorised assembly are punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
Lai's sentence will be pronounced on December 13.
Lai is a vocal critic of Chinese communist party. He was first arrested August last year under the provisions of city’s draconian national security law that was imposed by Chinese government in June 2020.
Apple Daily, owned by Lai, frequently faced the ire of Beijing- backed government and finally shutdown this June after facing relentless hounding and content censorship.
In June this year, the city police detained the paper’s lead editorial writer for allegedly colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security.
On Jun 23, the board of Next Digital Ltd, which owns Apple Daily, announced that the pro-democracy publication would cease publishing. The final decision to shutter the paper was made after Hong Kong authorities do blocked access to the company’s bank accounts following the arrests of senior editors and executives.
Lai, an hugely influential figure in Hong Kong, took an unapologetically pro-democracy position and remains a fierce critic of Beijing's authoritarian ways.
Lai’s newspaper earned the ire of city’s pro-Beijing leadership during the months of massive peaceful protests and violent clashes with police that rocked Hong Kong in 2019.
Lai has often described the city’s new national security law as a death knell for freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kongers since the city was returned to China in 1997.
Lai was later arrested under the draconian new law for alleged collusion with a foreign country to endanger national security. He also faces charges of uttering seditious words and conspiring to defraud.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.