Top News - Jimmy Lai’s Trial Update
On Tuesday (2 Jan), as the trial resumed, Jimmy Lai pleaded not guilty to conspiring to collude with foreign forces and publishing allegedly seditious materials. The prosecution began by calling Jimmy Lai a "radical political figure" and a "mastermind" and accused him of using his media businesses "as a platform to pursue his political agenda” and of orchestrating a conspiracy.
They then produced a list of foreign individuals around the world and named them as “co-conspirators” on the trumped-up charges of "collusion with foreign forces". The list included James Cunningham, former U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong, and Chairman of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation), along with several other foreign citizens around the globe including Luke de Pulford, Executive Director of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), Bill Browder, founder of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, Benedict Rogers, founder of Hong Kong Watch, former Japanese MP Shiori Kanno, former US vice president Mike Pence and secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
Ambassador James Cunningham, Chairman of the CFHK Foundation, issued a statement in response in which he said: “Along with the other so-called “co-conspirators,” I support Jimmy and all those who are being targeted by the CCP in Hong Kong. The British and US governments, and indeed all who stand for freedom and justice, must speak louder than ever in condemning this farce, and in demanding Jimmy Lai’s release and an end to the repression of freedom in Hong Kong.”
On Wednesday (3 Jan), The prosecution presented evidence of "foreign collusion" which included a text message sent to Benedict Rogers, attempting to contact Lord Chris Patten, the last Governor of Hong Kong (1992-1997). The message sought an interview about the anti-extradition law. The prosecutor also asserted that Apple Daily persisted in publishing “seditious” content with the aim of influencing public opinion, specifically targeting the overall governing regime.
On Thursday (4 Jan), the prosecutor accused Jimmy Lai of encouraging the international community to “combat” the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Evidence presented includes referring to China as a “rogue state” and “police state” on Twitter, in Apple Daily’s articles, and other media commentary.
The trial is expected to continue on 8 January. Stay tuned for updates on this developing issue.
Jimmy Lai's lawyers file a UN appeal, stating there is evidence that one of the key witnesses, Andy Li, was tortured while in prison in mainland China before he confessed to allegedly conspiring with Lai to “collude with foreign forces”.
Hong Kong’s Department of Justice (DoJ) deleted the online database of national security cases from its website, without explanation. In response to inquiries, the DoJ stated, “Content of relevant webpages will be adjusted and amended having regard to circumstances.”
Hong Kong’s first public exhibition centre devoted to patriotic education opened on Monday in Sha Tin. With an extensive collection of historical materials, its mission is to preserve the “red gene” and deepen the depth of patriotic education.
A man apprehended at Hong Kong airport has admitted guilt to “sedition” charges related to his long-sleeve top and a flag bearing the protest slogan, "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times."
Submissions to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on China have been published on the UN Human Rights Council website. Notable contributors include the Hong Kong Democracy Council, Hong Kong Watch, Hongkongers in Britain, and Human Rights Watch. The UPR is expected to take place on January 23. Stay informed.
A Dutch semiconductor manufacturer, ASML, has cancelled shipments of advanced microchip machinery to China following pressure from the US government, as part of broader efforts by the Biden administration to curb China's semiconductor capabilities and technology access.