Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong business media tycoon, was arrested early last week by local authorities in China while in the offices for his Apple Daily newspaper. The arrest cited Lai for colluding with outside foreign forces, which authorities stated was a national security risk. On Friday, it was reported that Lai denied any foreign collusion.
Lai’s arrest comes as a part of a new national security law in Beijing that began in July of this year. The widely-criticized law is part of a new national security effort that exudes more government control over Chinese media, schools, and other organizations. Lai’s sons and several executives who work for the Apple Daily newspaper were arrested when around 200 Chinese police officers raided the offices.
It may come as no surprise to some that Jimmy Lai was arrested in connection with the Beijing security law. Jimmy has a long history of being an avid democratic supporter. Lai’s newspaper, the Apple Daily, is a pro-democracy publication. Lai was also previously arrested in February of this year in connection with democratic protests.
There are severe penalties in China for colluding with foreign powers. If found guilty, there is a possibility that Lai could be looking at a life sentence in prison. Lai has stated that a fair trial is expected and that he believes the charges levied against him are not too serious. Alternatively, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office in China states it supports Lai’s arrest and believes any collusion should be punished.
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