Communist China continues its aggressive attack against Democracy and freedom after passing the sweeping “national security laws” cracking down on Hong Kong activists, preventing them from demonstrating against the CCP. Despite the US having taken a hardline stance in response to China’s siege of Hong Kong by ending the traditionally enjoyed special privileges uniquely pro-Democracy territory, Beijing persists in its quest for political power.
The Chinese Communist Party sent a message to the world with the arrest of pro-Democracy activist and Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai on Monday. According to BBC, police were seen raiding the offices of Lai’s news publication, Apple Daily, where they led him out in handcuffs.
Hong Kong police report that they arrested a total of 10 people, although more detainments may be possible. In addition to Lai, other arrests included his two sons, four senior staff, CEO Cheung Kim-hung, and COO Chow Tat-kuen of Next Digital Limited.
The police reportedly accused them of, “collusion with a foreign country/external element to endanger national security, conspiracy to defraud,” and other charges, they said.
Apple Daily Parent company Next Digital Limited posted a video to the newspaper’s Facebook page showing hundreds of police officers swarming their offices to arrest Lai.
【壹傳媒聲明】堅守崗位，撐到底！【STATEMENT OF NEXT DIGITAL LIMITED】中文: https://bit.ly/30FEF5AEnglish: https://bit.ly/2DGeSS7壹傳媒創辦人黎智英及集團多名高層人員被警方以《國安法》及其他罪行為由拘捕，數以百計警員到《蘋果日報》大樓封鎖搜查，企圖以威嚇手段侵害新聞自由，製造白色恐怖，《蘋果日報》感到極度憤怒，並予以最強烈譴責。香港警隊屢稱依法辦事，但公然違規濫權，包括無視法庭搜查令限制，肆無忌憚翻閱新聞採訪材料、限制編採人員活動和履行採訪職務，阻撓新聞機構正常運作。面對此等不合法、不合理的橫蠻行徑，《蘋果日報》仝人定必以無畏無懼的態度，繼續在打壓中，以真相說亮話。港版《國安法》聲言香港居民享有言論、新聞、出版自由，警隊種種行徑，已向香港及國際社會作了一次反面示範。搜查新聞機構嚴重衝擊新聞自由，為文明社會所不容，政權以為滋擾及威嚇便能令我們噤聲，欲將一個國際城市逼退至第三世界、極權社會水平。香港新聞自由岌岌可危，現時更被推至懸崖邊緣，面對危急關頭，《蘋果日報》仝人必定緊守崗位，捍衞新聞自由。正如《蘋果日報》社長張劍虹所言：「《蘋果》一定撐下去。」Following the arrests of Jimmy Lai, founder of Next Digital, and executives of the media group under the national security law on Monday, several hundreds of police officers conducted a raid at the Apple Daily headquarters. Officers were seen rifling through documents in the newsroom, breaching press freedom through intimidation and creating an atmosphere of white terror. Apple Daily is furious and hereby strongly condemns the operation.The Hong Kong Police Force have blatantly bypassed the law and abused their power, despite claims about acting according to the rules. They have, for instance, ignored the limitation of the search warrant and rifled through news materials, as well as restricting press members from reporting and obstructing a news organization from operating. In the face of these illegal, unreasonable and barbaric tactics, the staff of Apple Daily will stay fearless and continue speaking the truth amid persecution.Beijing’s national security law for Hong Kong claims to guarantee residents’ freedom of speech, of the press and of publication, but the authorities’ actions have proved otherwise. Raiding a news institution is a severe attack on press freedom and should not be tolerated in a civilized society. The regime believes that we will be silenced by intimidation and harassment, and that they can take an international city down the path of autocracy. Hong Kong’s press freedom is now hanging by a thread, but our staff will remain fully committed to our duty to defend the freedom of the press.As Publisher of Apple Daily Cheung Kim Hung says: Apple Daily shall fight on.=============💪🏼 VIP撐《蘋果》計劃 每月$300起https://bit.ly/30DSNv1=============🍎 黎智英：經營非常困難 請支持訂閱https://bit.ly/2VLuV6g=============🌎《蘋果》英文版現已上架https://bit.ly/2XLjbRZ
Posted by 香港蘋果日報 on Monday, August 10, 2020
The media group issued a statement pledging their refusal to back down from criticizing Beijing or supporting Democracy.
Next Digital Limited wrote, “The [Beijing] regime believes that we will be silenced by intimidation and harassment, and that they can take an international city down the path of autocracy,” they continued.
“Hong Kong’s press freedom is now hanging by a thread, but our staff will remain fully committed to our duty to defend the freedom of the press… Apple Daily shall fight on,” the media group vowed.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to the CCP’s arrests on Twitter, where he wrote, “I’m deeply troubled by reports of the arrest of @JimmyLaiApple under Hong Kong’s draconian National Security Law. Further proof that the CCP has eviscerated Hong Kong’s freedoms and eroded the rights of its people.”
I’m deeply troubled by reports of the arrest of @JimmyLaiApple under Hong Kong’s draconian National Security Law. Further proof that the CCP has eviscerated Hong Kong’s freedoms and eroded the rights of its people.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 10, 2020
Who Is Jimmy Lai?
Jimmy Lai is perhaps one of the most important people to the cultural and political pro-Democracy movement in Hong Kong. From a young age, he staunchly stood against the Beijing regime after he was smuggled into British-ruled Hong Kong when he was just 12. Lai’s political involvement began in 1989 following the CCP’s handling of Tiananmen Square.
Lai is the founder of Next Digital Limited, which is a media group that owns pro-Democracy tabloid Apple Daily, which is one of the most popular publications in the territory. He is currently worth more than $1 billion dollars.
He is also one of the biggest contributors to the Democratic Party of Hong Kong – and to be clear, while this party swings Left of center, it is not to be confused with the American Democratic Party. Hong Kong’s Democratic Party values freedom and democracy away from the CCP regime.
Why Was He Arrested?
The CCP had Jimmy Lai arrested simply because he represents, promotes, and advocates for Democracy in Hong Kong. He is one of the biggest financiers of the party and is responsible for reporting anti-government news about Beijing.
However, perhaps his worst sin is his strong relationship with government officials in Washington D.C. Lai has been called a “traitor” by Beijing officials for visiting the United States, supporting Hong Kong’s autonomy, and maintaining a positive relationship with Pompeo.
While the future remains uncertain for those who were arrested today, pro-Democracy activists are calling for action to free Lai and the others detained. The coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists said, “Jimmy Lai should be released at once and any charges dropped,” according to Reuters, while another activist stated, “I call on the international community to take immediate action.”
While calls for action continue to grow around the world, the U.S. has long vowed to back Hong Kong against the CCP, and it’s only a matter of time before the State Department takes additional action amid rising tensions with Beijing.