HONG KONG – Jimmy Lai, the 73-year-old Hong Kong media tycoon and advocate for democracy, was denied bail Saturday after being charged yesterday below the semi-autonomous Chinese language territory’s new nationwide safety legislation.
Lai faces a cost of collusion with international components to hazard nationwide safety, apparently for tweets he made and interviews or commentaries he did with international media.
The Apple Every day, a feisty pro-democracy tabloid owned by Lai, stated he’s accused of asking a international nation, group or particular person to impose sanctions or have interaction in different hostile actions in opposition to Hong Kong or China.
His case was adjourned to April 16 on the request of prosecutors, who stated police wanted time to assessment greater than 1,000 tweets and feedback made on his Twitter account, the Apple Daily reported.
The newspaper stated his cost sheet listed a number of international politicians who adopted Lai on Twitter and cited commentaries he wrote and interviews he did with international media.
Lai, who was already being held on different fraud expenses after police raided his media firm, may very well be seen handcuffed to a sequence round his waist as guards led him to a van to go from jail to courtroom. He wore a navy blazer and an open-neck shirt.
Beijing imposed the nationwide safety legislation on Hong Kong earlier this 12 months after stormy protests in 2019 that began over an extradition invoice and expanded to incorporate calls for for higher democracy within the former British colony.
The brand new legislation outlaws secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with international forces to intervene in Hong Kong’s affairs. It has constricted free speech within the metropolis, and democracy activists see it as a technique to suppress dissent.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Saturday morning Asia time that the safety legislation “makes a mockery of justice.” He known as for Lai’s launch, saying his solely crime is talking the reality about China’s authoritarian Communist Get together authorities.
Hong Kong’s Nationwide Safety Regulation makes a mockery of justice. @JimmyLaiApple’s solely “crime” is talking the reality concerning the Chinese language Communist Get together’s authoritarianism and worry of freedom. Costs must be dropped and he must be launched instantly.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 12, 2020
Lai, the highest-profile particular person charged below the safety legislation, has additionally been arrested for different alleged offenses this 12 months. He has been charged with participating in unauthorized protests and with fraud over alleged violations of workplace lease phrases.
He has advocated for different nations to take a harsher stance on China, and met with Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence within the U.S. final 12 months to debate the extradition invoice, which the Hong Kong authorities finally withdrew.
Pence additionally tweeted about Lai, saying the fees in opposition to him are “an affront to freedom loving folks round all over the place.”