Jimmy Lai’s Trial Marks the Death of Freedom in Hong Kong

by KWAI LOU at dailysceptic.org

Jimmy Lai is in West Kowloon Court today. The now defunct Daily Apple founder, aged 76, is charged with “colluding with foreign forces”. He is a British and Hong Kong citizen.

This is a concern to all readers because it is about China’s imposition of Beijing rules on Hong Kong in breach of treaty obligations.

Many will know that when Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997 China struck a treaty with Britain to allow Hong Kong to operate with a very high degree of independence for at least 50 years.

This was well summarised as ‘One country, two systems’. The only other treaty signatory was the U.K. and so a breach of the treaty is a breach of trust with the U.K. as well as Hong Kong. Protests in Hong Kong in 2019 led to the biggest pro-democracy vote ever seen in local elections in November 2019. A record turnout, too, in what was effectively a referendum.

Stung by this, and helped by Covid restrictions barely three months later, Beijing clamped down on Hong Kong. This was by using the ‘National Security Law’, a set of rules so wide ranging as to allow Hong Kongers to be ‘transferred’ to the mainland for trial, removing rights to representation and preventing ‘non-patriotic’ candidates from standing in elections. The effects were crushing – protests were throttled, arrests made (including that of 90 year-old retired Roman Catholic Archbishop Cardinal Zen for subversion), 7% of Hong Kong’s population moved overseas (that’s equivalent to five million people leaving the U.K.) All this took place during Covid, butCcovid was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The heavy load already there was the National Security Law.