Factbox: What people are saying about the arrest of HK’s Jimmy Lai

11-Aug-2020 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai was arrested on Monday under Beijing’s new national security law for the city, sending a chill across the global financial hub.

Lai’s arrest, for suspected collusion with foreign forces, is the most high-profile under the security legislation, which has been widely condemned by Western governments and international human rights groups who say it will crush freedoms in the former British colony.

Lai, 71, has been one of the most prominent democracy activists in the Chinese-ruled city and an ardent critic of Beijing, which imposed the sweeping new law on Hong Kong just before midnight on June 30.

Here is what people are saying about Lai’s arrest.

Nathan Law, democracy activist who fled Hong Kong:

“Crazy arrests,” Law tweeted. “The end of freedom of press in Hong Kong. The national security law is quashing the freedom of our society, spreading politics of fear.”

Samuel Chu, democracy campaigner based in America, for whom police have issued an arrest warrant:

“The curtain is closing rapidly on what remains of Hong Kong’s freedoms,” Chu said on Facebook.

Steven Chan, 28, clerk:

“I don’t think they should be doing this,” Chan told Reuters Television after police searched the headquarters of Apple Daily, a tabloid of which Lai is the publisher.

“After all, this is a media organisation, isn’t it? Hong Kong claims to have freedom of the press, doesn’t it? So I don’t think they should search the media.”

Helen Wong, 40, office worker:

“This issue, I think it is very unreasonableto arrest a person out of the blue,” Wong told Reuters Television. “And he represents the media sector, too. Apple Daily is a news organisation that has many readers, whether it’s the (online) platform or the newspaperthey are all fairly popular with the people. But being arrested like this, what has he actually done? A national security (crime)? But in fact, the law has made it clear that one should not be prosecuted for actions before the law was put in place.”

Hong Kong Democratic Party:

“The public searches of the media offices have had a shocking effect on the industry… freedom of the press and expression are at stake,” it said in a Facebook post.

“The Democratic Party urges the (Hong Kong) government to stop using the law as a weapon and to conduct a large manhunt against dissidents through the national security law in Hong Kong, which will only have a devastating impact on the community of Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong Journalists Association chair Chris Yeung:

“The search is horrible, I believe many journalists wouldn’t expect this,” Yeung told reporters.

“I think somewhere in third-world countries there has been such kind of press freedom suppression, just didn’t expect it to be in Hong Kong.”

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Global Times, which is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party:

“The arrest reflects that the (HK government) wasn’t intimidated by US sanctions, which actually are pushing HK civil servants further to Beijing,” Hu said on Twitter.

“In the future, the sanctions will also push the hearts and minds of entire HK society to the Chinese mainland, promoting China’s unity.”

Next Magazine, part of Lai’s media empire:

“We do not fear suppression, insist on voicing out, and honour our roles. We stand with Hong Kong,” it said in a Facebook post.

Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang:

“China should not treat Hong Kong this way. Taiwan is paying very close attention to the situation in Hong Kong and cares about the people of Hong Kong,” Su told reporters in Taipei.

“We still urge the Chinese government to keep its promise and respect Hong Kong’s democracy and freedom.”

Steven Butler, Asia programme co-ordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists:

“The arrest of media tycoon Jimmy Lai bears out the worst fears that Hong Kong’s national security law would be used to suppress critical pro-democracy opinion and restrict press freedom,” Butler said in a statement. “Jimmy Lai should be released at once and any charges dropped.”



Category: Hong Kong

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